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Online Community & Resource for Active Silver Surfers

The Silver Life

Online Community & Resource for Active Silver Surfers

YNGBT but if you RBTL, you’ll KWIM*

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Internet Chat Acronyms & SMS Shorthand – a new language you’ll have to learn.

With hundreds of millions of people texting regularly, it’s no wonder you’ve seen this cryptic looking code pop up on your phones and computers. Commonly used wherever people get online, these abbreviations are used by people around the world to communicate with each other.

Acronyms have always been an integral part of computer culture, and they have since spawned a new language on the Internet. Commonly thought of as a series of letters that make up a “word” there is a distinction between acronyms and shorthand.

The difference between acronyms and shorthand is that with acronyms, you pronounce the letters as a new word (for example, “FUBAR” is pronounced “foo-bar” and “RADAR” is pronounced “ray-dar”).

In contrast, shorthand pronunciations are like an initialism (a set of initials) in which you say the letters one-by-one (for example, “ESP” is an initialism for “Extra Sensory Perception” whereas “esp.” is an abbreviation for especially). However, the online practice is to refer to shorthand, initialisms, or abbreviations as acronyms.

The majority of the expressions are not acronyms, but rather shorthand used while text messaging or IM-ing.

BTW: If you ever see someone TYPING AN ENTIRE SENTENCE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS that means SHOUTING! It is not proper netiquette to TYPE IN ALL CAPS (even in email), in fact, it’s annoying.

One of my friends used to send me emails in all capital letters because she had trouble seeing the words and when I asked why she was shouting at me, she had no idea that capitals equal shouting.

If you have limited eyesight, you are probably better off changing your screen resolution, so TURN THE CAPS LOCK OFF, unless you’re using an acronym or shorthand.

Below are some of the more widely known terms:

Note: “C” and “S” are used interchangeably for “See”, and “U” and “Y” are used interchangeably for “You”

10Q Thank you
121 One to one
2day Today
2G2BT Too Good To Be True
2moro Tomorrow
2nite Tonight
88 Hugs and kisses
<3 a love heart (sideways)
AAMOF As A Matter Of Fact
AAMOI As A Matter Of Interest
AFAIC As Far As I’m Concerned
AFAIK As Far As I Know
ALOL Actually Laughing Out Loud
ALOTBSOL Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
B/C Because
B/W Between
B4 Before
B4N Bye For Now
BAU Business As Usual
BFF Best Friends Forever -or- Best Friend’s Funeral
BRB Be Right Back
BTW By The Way -or- Bring The Wheelchair
CD9 Code 9 – it means parents are around
CRTLA Can’t Remember the Three-Letter Acronym (I’ll be using this one a lot!)
CUL See You Later
ELOL Evil Laugh Out Loud
F2F Face-to-Face, a.k.a. face time
G2G Got to Go
g98t Good night
GGN Gotta Go Now
GI Google It
GOTDPWYD Get Off The Damn Phone While You’re Driving
ICWUM I See What You Mean
IHA I Hate Acronyms
IMHO In My Humble Opinion
KWIM Know What I Mean
LMHO Laughing My Head Off
LOL Laughing Out Loud -or- Lots Of Love
MTFBWY May The Force Be With You
OMG Oh My God
PM Personal Message -or- Private Message
PTP Pardon The Pun
ROFL Rolling On Floor Laughing
RTBM Read The Bloody Manual
RUOK Are You OK?
SM Senior Moment
THX or TX or THKS Thanks
TXT Text
WWW World Wide Web -or- World Wide Wait -or- What Went Wrong
WYSIWYG What You See Is What You Get
XOXO Hugs and Kisses
YKWIM You Know What I Mean
YNGBT You’re Not Gonna Believe This
YOLO You Only Live Once

For the full – unedited and uncensored – list, go to:


* You’re not gonna believe this, but if you read between the lines, you’ll know what I mean.


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About the Author: Louise C.

Louise was born in the Netherlands and has lived in Australia since 1987. She has experienced the digital age since its inception and has always been involved in information technology in one way or another. She now owns her own web site design agency and runs this from her home in Tasmania, which she shares with her labrador, Shilo. She loves the ocean and everything around and in it and one day hopes to publish a coffee table book and mobile app on Tasmanian shells. Louise is a founding member of The Silver Life.

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