Initialisms FTW: Internet Shorthand YSK

Tweet length has doubled and voice-to-text is available on any smartphone, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s using full sentences (or even full words). Shorthand is everywhere, and while BRB and LOL have stood the test of time since the chatroom days of the 90s, there are some others that you may not be as familiar with.

Here are 25 handy initialisms* to familiarize yourself with, so that your next digital conversation can be the GOAT, instead of leaving you saying, “IDK.”

  1. AFAICT – As Far As I Can Tell. As in, “AFAICT, ModSquad writes some great blogs.”
  2. AFAIK – As Far As I Know. As in, “AFAIK, I’m following all of ModSquad’s social media accounts.”
  3. AMA – Ask Me Anything. This is most often seen on Reddit, where unique individuals will offer to answer any and all questions about their particular achievement or situation.
  4. API – Application Programming Interface. As in, “The LinkedIn API doesn’t allow third party tools to pull analytics on native video posts… yet.”
  5. F2F – Face To Face. As in, “A bunch of our remote Mods got to meet face-to-face during our 10th anniversary parties last year.”
  6. FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. As in, “FOMO drives Candace to check her friends’ latest snaps 15 times a day.”
  7. FTFY – Fixed That For You. Often used sarcastically to correct something that wasn’t actually wrong.
  8. FTW – For The Win. Coincidentally, the complete opposite of the reverse initialism.
  9. FWIW – For What It’s Worth. As in, “FWIW, I don’t think you need a separate Instagram profile for each of your pets, but hey, you do you.”
  10. GOAT – Greatest Of All Time. As in, “Wow, ModSquad’s latest blog is their GOAT.” Uncapitalized, an adorable farm animal.
  11. HTH – Happy to Help (also, Here to Help). How we’ll respond when you thank us for posting this informative list.
  12. ICYMI – In Case You Missed It. As in, “ICYMI, LOL doesn’t mean Lots of Love.”
  13. IDK – I Don’t Know. What you won’t need to say anymore when someone asks what “ICYMI” stands for.
  14. IIRC – If I Recall Correctly. Or, If I Remember Correctly.
  15. ILY – I Love You. What our clients tell us every day, of course.
  16. IMO – In My Opinion. Also, IMHO, where H stands for Humble.
  17. IRL – In Real Life. As in, “I’m very chatty online but rather quiet IRL.”
  18. LMK – Let Me Know. As in, “LMK if there are other initialisms you need us to define.”
  19. NBD – No Big Deal. As in, “Seriously, we’re happy to add more to our list, NBD.”
  20. SMH – Shaking My Head. What we do when we see brands try to get in on a trending meme but instead end up on /r/fellowkids.
  21. TBH – To Be Honest. As in, “TBH, you’re missing out if you’re not reading ModSquad’s blog.”
  22. TFW – That Feeling When. As in, “TFW your 4:30 p.m. meeting on Friday gets cancelled.”
  23. TIL – Today I Learned. What you’ll say when you finish reading this list.
  24. TL;DR – Too Long; Didn’t Read. Often used at the start of a lengthy post or email, followed by a short version of the text below it.
  25. YSK – You Should Know. And now you do!

*P.S. If you’re asking yourself, “What’s an initialism? Aren’t these acronyms?”, the difference is all in the pronunciation. While both describe letters that stand for a name or phrase, initialisms are pronounced letter by letter, while acronyms are pronounced as a word. For instance, if you said “TL;DR” out loud, you’d say tee el dee ar, not tuldur. The only one on our list here that’s an acronym is “FOMO” which is pronounced foh moh. Yes, now you can officially say tee eye el.

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Talk Back

Susie South
Posted on July 10, 2018

One that I use often IRL is “TLA,” as in, “It’s my goal to speak only in TLA.” TLA = three-letter acronyms. (Perhaps it should be “initialisms?”

Amy Pritchard
Posted on July 10, 2018

#24 is my new favorite.

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