The Internet can be a confusing place, even for someone who is using it every day. Because Internet language evolves every day. In fact, Internet slang words can transform language itself, so you need to know them to get by in real life.
It’s amazing to see how Internet words are having such a tremendous impact on the English language. Let’s go back in time and observe just how many have infiltrated the English language. Sure, you can look up words in online slang dictionaries, but it’s difficult to stay clued in that way. Instead, we whipped up a quick crash course of trendy Internet acronyms and phrases.
1. AMA: Ask Me Anything
What It Means: Ask Me Anything is a series started on Reddit, where an authority on a subject fields open questions. It is now used more widely on the Internet, with any sort of public Q&A being termed an AMA. For example:
2. Bae: Babe / Before Anyone Else
What It Means: Urban Dictionary says Bae is a Danish word for poop. Unfortunately, the Internet thinks it’s a term of endearment: either an acronym for “before anyone else” or a shortening of “babe”. Soon enough, pop stars Pharrell and Miley Cyrus turned it into a song, “Come get it, bae.” Sorry Danes, this is what the word means, now and forever. The good news is that most of the Internet also treats it as a term of mockery in memes and captions for images, so you can feel free to use it to be sassy. If you’re interested, Esquire has a detailed piece on the rise of bae..
3. Dafuq: (What) the f***?
What It Means: The first time you see “dafuq” on the Internet, you might think it’s a legitimate word. It’s not. Pronounce it, preferably while no kids are around. Dafuq is the Internet’s way of saying WTF because apparently, the Internet-made WTF was not convenient enough. Let not the logic of five characters being better than three characters bother you, weary Internet traveller. We have a long way to go still.
4. DM: Direct Message
What It Means: Twitter’s Direct Message feature lets you send private messages to your friends, or receive private messages from anyone. It’s especially useful for sharing information you don’t want to post in public, like your phone number or address. “DM” is slowly becoming the default way of telling someone to message you privately, much like “PM” in the past for personal message/private message. For example:
5. FML: F*** My Life
What It Means: As old as this is, it’s still used a lot. The idea is that when you go through an unfortunate event, share it with the world by tagging it with “FML”. Simple. It’s actually pretty therapeutic, especially if you want to confess your misfortunes anonymously at a place like FMyLife, which is one of the best sites to read true stories from real people.
6. Facepalm: Short for “Ugh, idiot.”
What It Means: When someone does something stupid, instinctively, your palm hits your own face or forehead. That entire series of action is now reduced to a single word: facepalm. It can be used to convey dismay, disappointment, ridicule, or disapproval.
7. ICYMI: In Case You Missed It
What It Means: One of the few times the Internet tries to be polite, ICYMI is just a precaution when you aren’t sure if other people already know about something, or when you are repeating something you have said before. It’s a way of saying, “You might have already seen this, but if not, here you go.”
8. IDGAF: I Don’t Give A F***
What It Means: It means exactly what it means in English: a crass, emphatic way of saying that you don’t care.
9. IMO / IMHO: In My Opinion / In My Humble Opinion
What It Means: Another Internet classic, IMO is the safe way to express your opinions without making it sound like you are proclaiming a universal truth. IMHO is the way to do that while seeming humble, or at least pretending to. Since the Internet is always up for a debate, those are the perfect forums to use these two acronyms in. For example:
10. Lulz: Kicks (as in “For kicks”)
What It Means: Lulz is an off-shoot of LOLs*. Lulz is usually used in the form of “For the lulz”, which would be just like saying “for the kicks” or “for the laughs”. It’s a justification for whatever you’re doing or saying; the justification being that it’s for a few laughs.
“I did it for the lulz”
11. NSFW: Not Safe For Work
What It Means: If you’re at the office, you don’t want to open a link that has nudity, graphic language, or anything offensive. If the link says “NSFW”, then it’s not safe to open in an environment where someone might see it and be offended.
12. SMH: Shaking My Head
What It Means: Like headdesk and facepalm, SMH is used to convey your disappointment at someone doing or saying something utterly stupid.
13. TBT: Throwback Thursday
What It Means: When you want to post an old photo, hold off till Thursday and tag it with #ThrowbackThursday or #TBT. It’s a sure-fire way to get more likes and comments on Instagram. While TBT is used more on Instagram than anywhere else, it has become a central part of the Internet’s lexicon and is used everywhere.
14. YOLO: You Only Live Once
What It Means: YOLO is a justification for doing something that you probably shouldn’t be doing, but want to do it anyway. It’s also used ironically as commentary on someone else doing something idiotic.
15 OK: OLL Korrect.
What it Means: It means that the situation is clear and also your nod of approval to other’s work.