Do You Know the Meaning of These Texting Abbreviations?


By: Allison Lips

6 Min Quiz

Image: Manuel Breva Colmeiro/Moment/gettyimages

About This Quiz

Nowadays, it's common to see initialism like BFF, ICYMI, CU, TBH, and others on Facebook, Twitter, and in text messaging. While not everyone is 100 percent sure what a specific abbreviations stands for, most are common enough that if you see the abbreviation once, you will see it again in another forum. 

The abbreviations we use in texting and on the internet aren't as new as they may seem. Some like ASAP and FYI predate the internet by decades. Others were created during the early days of the internet. Many of these abbreviations were created either before the internet went mainstream or as it was gaining popularity. 

In 1989, the World Wide Web officially launched. However, there were already people connect to early versions in the 1980s. At the time, people communicated through Usenet. It has been years since Usenet has been the primary way people communicate on the internet, yet its legacy lives on. Terms and abbreviations created on those message boards remain in common usage. If you've ever been on the internet, you've run into an FAQ, a flame war, or received a piece of spam. You've also witnessed people talking about things that happened IRL. 

Do you spend a significant amount of time on the internet? Are you familiar with its lingo? See how much you know with this quiz! 

You find something hilarious, so you write tha you are ROTFL. What is the person receiving it envisioning?

To express that they find something so funny that they are rolling on the floor, someone may also use the abbreviation ROFL. If someone says that they are ROFLMAO, they are saying their laughing their *butt* off.


While your mom may use it to mean lots of love, what is LOL usually used to express?

The earliest usage of LOL occurred in the 1980s. At the time, it was used on Usenet boards.


If you're excited you may exclaim OMG, but what does it mean?

OMG can also be said to stand for "oh my goodness' or "oh my gosh." The first recorded usage was in 1917. It was used in a letter a British Admiral sent Winston Churchill.


What is another way someone can express the thoughts behind BTW?

BTW is an abbreviation used for British Traditional Wicca. It is also used by the international Air Transport Association for Batu Licin Airport, which is located in Indonesia.


If you're unsure of something, which abbreviation would you use?

Recorded cases of "IDK' date back to at least 2002. It is part of what is now called SMS language.


While sometimes the "H" in IMHO stands for "honest," what does it usually mean?

In 1986, people started abbreviating "in my humble opinion" as IMHO. IMO simply means in my opinion, while IMNSHO means "in my not-so-humble opinion."


If something isn't scheduled yet, you may say TBA, but what does it stand for?

If someone says, TBD, they are saying that something is "to be determined." TBA has been used since the 1950s.


If you're sent something that utterly baffles you, what might you respond?

The more profane version is WTF. That variation has been around since at least 1985.


Why would someone preface their sentence with FYI?

While FYI is commonly used in text speak, it is not a new invention. The earliest recorded usage was in 1941.


Which abbreviation might you put in front of a summary of events?

ICYMI is an example of an initialism. Initialisms are not pronounced like they are words.


Which abbreviation is used for acknowledging that people may have different opinions than you?

YMMV mainly used in electronic communications. You are most likely to come across the abbreviation in text messaging or email.


If a conversation over, why might you type CU?

Some people add L8R, translating to later. So altogether, its' CU L8R!


If you are not certain about something, you might say AFAIK. What does it mean?

If you don't want to use AFAIK, you can use IIRC instead. It means "If I recall correctly."


Why would you spend a lot of time with your BFF?

In September 2010, BFF was added to the New Oxford American Dictionary. While the concept has been around forever, the term was coined in the mid-1990s.


If you have to run to the bathroom, why might you say BRB?

BRB is used to express that you will return soon. It originated in the 1990s.


When someone posts something that is very long, why would you post TL;DR?

TL; DR is often used dismissively. However it can also be used before a summary of a long post.


What are you telling someone if you sent them cul8r?

CU is an abbreviation for see you. In l8r. The middle three letter are substituted for an 8.


If you want someone to keep you posted about something, which abbreviation would you use?

People have been using LMK as an abbreviation for "let me know" for at least 15 years. It is unlikely to be used in spoken communication.


If you need to leave, why would you text GTG?

GTG is sometimes rendered G2G. It also has two meaning: good to go and got to go.


If someone says JK after a joke, what does it mean?

Although it is more commonly seen in texting, JK is sometimes spoken aloud. JK is also used as an abbreviation of Jakarta, Indonesia.


In the context of texting, what does MSG stand for?

MSG commonly means monosodium glutamate, which is a flavor enhancer, as well. It is frequently used in the New York City area for Madison Square Garden.


Why would you respond "rly" if someone doesn't believe what you're saying?

On the internet, "O RLY?" is often meant sarcastically. It often appears with an image macro of a snowy owl.


Who are your peeps?

Peeps is a shortened form of people. It was used as early as the mid-1800s.


If you accidentally did something to someone, why would you send them a "sry?"

Sry is an abbreviation of sorry. It simply removes the o and an r.


When someone reveals details you don't want to know, why might you say TMI?

Usually, TMI is used to mean that the person didn't need to hear what you said. Often, the information is embarrassing.


Who is "ur" referring to?

Ur can be used for both your and you're. The former shows possession. The latter is a contraction for you are.


If you want to continue the conversation later, what would you text?

One theory suggests that TTYL started in 1980s England. This theory also states that TTYL originally stood for the "ta ta, you all," a British way of saying goodbye.


If someone requests something and you respond NP, what did you say?

NP can mean Notary public in the United States. In chemistry it means neptunium, an element.


How soon do you want something, if you want it ASAP?

In 1955, ASAP entered English. It was originally U.S. Army jargon.


If you text someone NVM, what do you mean?

NVM is short for nevermind. It is also an abbreviation for non-volatile memory.


Where is IRL?

If you know what IRL means, you can say you're meeting someone IRL. You can also say you're having RL problems, which means real life problems.


If you want to convey disappointment, you may say SMH. What does it mean?

Shaking my head is often used when someone has no words for what they perceive as someone else's stupidity. Often times, it's a response to something obvious.


If you're holding back giving your opinion, why might you decide TBH?

TBH can be to ease into an insult or express a sincere opinion. LBH means let's be honest.


If you respond NBD, how do you feel about doing something?

While NBD usually means no big deal, it sometimes mean never back down. It can also mean next business day.


What does it mean if someone says FTW?

In internet slang, for the win is used to express that something is the best or is awesome. The expression can also mean a certain profanity the world.


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