Abbreviations are used in text messages, in social media comments sections, in emails, in chat rooms, on online message boards, and most other places that people communicate online. They are an efficient way to communicate ideas in virtual spaces, and they are understood by the communities which use them. Below, you will find a list of 50 common abbreviations that are used in the contexts mentioned.

Keep in mind that abbreviations are meant to be used in casual written situations and should be avoided in professional and official communications.

While the abbreviations below are all in capital letters, when you see them “in the wild”, you will find that all of the abbreviations are commonly used in lowercase letters as well.

  1. AFAIK – as far as I know
    Contexts all
    Examples She said he works in the registration office, but AFAIK, that’s not the case.
  2. AFK – away from keyboard
    Contexts online messaging
    Examples AFK. I’ll be back in 10 minutes.
  3. AMA – ask me anything
    Contexts message boards (typically Reddit)
    Examples Taylor Swift is doing an AMA on Reddit next Friday.
  4. ATM – at the moment
    Contexts all
    Examples What are you doing atm?
  5. AWOL – absent without official leave
    Contexts all
    Usage This is often used when you do not know where someone is. If someone is AWOL, they do not respond to messages and no one knows when (or if) they will return to work/school/etc.
    Examples Terrence hasn’t been to work in three days, and no one has been able to get in touch with him. He’s been completely AWOL.
  6. B4 – before
    Contexts all
    Examples I’ll call you b4 7.
  7. BF – boyfriend
    Contexts all
    Examples Is that her bf?
  8. BFF – best friend forever (meaning: best friend)
    Contexts all
    Examples Marsha and Zakia are BFFs.
  9. BRB – be right back
    Contexts not common in emails or on message boards
    Usage Use this if you need to take a short break from a chat, and you want to tell the person you are talking with that you will return quickly. For instance, someone might be waiting at your door and you need to go see who it is.
    Examples Brb. Someone’s at the door.
  10. CYA – see you
    Contexts not common on message boards
    Usage “CYA”, meaning “See ya”, is a very short and informal way of saying “I will see you later”.
    Examples Nice chatting with ya. Cya.
  11. DL – down low
    Contexts all
    Usage “Keep it on the dl” means “Keep it private/secret”.
    Examples Keep this information on the dl.
  12. FTFY – fixed that for you
    Contexts all
    Usage Usually used by itself after you quote a person’s message and change something in it, usually to make a joke.
    Examples That movie was awful. ‘That movie was awesome.’ Ftfy. (The “that movie was awesome” message is typically in a quote box with the first person’s name)
  13. FTW – for the win
    Contexts all
    Usage If you type “ftw” after something, it means that something is good and desirable. If you send a picture to a friend and you like the way you look because you used a specific filter, you can be funny and say “I look good here. Photo filters ftw.”
    Examples Long weekends ftw!
  14. FWIW – for what it’s worth
    Contexts all
    Usage Use this when you want to share information or advice that might not be very relevant or helpful, but that offers some form of consolation for the receiver.
    Examples FWIW, I always thought your idea was better.
  15. GF – girlfriend
    Contexts all
    Examples Have you seen his new gf?
  16. GG – good game
    Contexts all
    Usage You can say this about a sporting event, or after you have played an enjoyable, competitive online game against someone.
    Examples Gg. Both teams played well.
  17. GTG – got to go
    Contexts text messaging and online messaging
    Usage Use this to tell someone that you have to stop communicating with them because you have to go do something else in your life.
    Examples Sorry, gtg. I start work in 10 mins.
  18. IDK – I don’t know
    Contexts all
    Examples I think that’s right, but idk.
  19. IIRC – if I recall correctly
    Contexts all
    Usage Use this when you are telling someone that you think something is the case. It’s like you are saying “I’m not 100% sure, but if my memory is correct, then…”
    Examples Iirc, Tanya got her university degree last year.
  20. IMHO – in my humble opinion
    Contexts all
    Usage IMHO is a more polite form of IMO. It can also mean “In my honest opinion.” In all cases, you intend to say that people should not take the following words as facts, but as your opinion.
    Examples IMHO, it sounds like you’re not working hard enough.
  21. IMO – in my opinion
    Contexts all
    Examples IMO, we should contact different suppliers and compare prices.
  22. IRL – in real life
    Contexts all
    Usage Usually relates to video games, and/or the difference between the real world and the digital world.
    Examples I hope you don’t think this sounds weird, but would you like to meet irl?
  23. ITT – in this thread
    Contexts message boards
    Usage A thread is a string of communication about a single topic. Use this to specify that you are referring to the current thread.
    Examples I can’t believe how many people ITT believe that the earth is flat!
  24. JK (also: j/k) – just kidding
    Contexts all
    Examples I’m at work… jk, I’m at home in bed!
  25. LMAO – laughing my ass off
    Contexts all
    Usage Use this as a response to a funny message or image, or to indicate that someone’s message has made you laugh a lot. This can be in a good-natured way or in a mean-spirited way.
    Examples Have you seen the video that Veronica sent to everybody? LMAO!
  26. LOL – laugh out loud
    Contexts all
    Examples LOL. Check out this picture.
  27. MYOB – mind your own business
    Contexts all
    Usage If you think that someone is asking too many questions or is becoming too involved in a discussion that does not really concern them – or you simply don’t want that person to voice their opinion on a topic – you can use MYOB.
    Examples Derek needs to learn the definition of MYOB. He’s always gossiping.
  28. NGL – not gonna lie
    Contexts all
    Usage More details:
    Examples Sorry that I missed yesterday’s meeting. Ngl, I just totally forgot about it.
  29. OIC – Oh, I see
    Contexts all (not common in emails)
    Usage Usually used by itself after someone tells you something you didn’t know, or something that you might not like, but which is still factual. For example, if you message someone that you have romantic interest in and they tell you that they already have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you might respond with “Oic. Sorry, I didn’t know.”
    Examples Oic. Sorry, I didn’t know.
  30. OMG (also: omigod) – oh my god
    Contexts all
    Examples Omg are you serious?! I don’t believe it!
  31. OP – original post
    Contexts message boards
    Usage refers to the first post in a new string of communication
    Examples Make sure you read the OP. Most of your questions are already answered there.
  32. OT – off-topic
    Contexts most common on message boards
    Examples I’m sorry for going OT, but how much did you pay for your shoes?
  33. P2P – peer-to-peer
    Contexts all
    Usage refers to connecting two computers together directly for things like file sharing
    Examples It’s a p2p site with access to a ton of music.
  34. PPL – people
    Contexts all
    Examples The event was cancelled because not enough ppl bought tickets.
  35. ROFL – rolling on the floor laughing
    Contexts all
    Examples ROFL! Oh my god, that’s so funny!
  36. SFW – safe for work
    Contexts all but not common in emailing
    Usage means you don’t have to worry about people seeing controversial or explicit content at work
    Examples Don’t worry. These images are all SFW.
  37. SMH – shake my head/shaking my head
    Contexts most common in texts, online messages, and on message boards
    Usage shows your disappointment or disapproval of something
    Examples Smh. I can’t believe he actually said that.
  38. SO – significant other
    Contexts all
    Usage typically refers to a person’s romantic partner
    Examples Did you know that her SO is a dentist?
  39. TBH – to be honest
    Contexts all
    Examples Tbh, I didn’t expect the project to take this long.
  40. TFW – that feeling when
    Contexts all, but most common in texts and memes
    Usage This is used to react to pictures, memes, and situations that make you feel a particular way or which depict a certain mood. You can use it to make an unfunny situation funny.
    Examples Tfw your mom cooks your favourite meal. (This could be a reaction to a picture of someone who looks incredibly happy or satisfied.)
  41. TIL – today I learned
    Contexts all, but not common in emails
    Usage Use “TIL” to respond to a post that teaches you something new. The “something new” might only be new to you, but obvious to others, and teaching this particular point might not be the main goal of the post.
    Examples TIL that the capital of Australia is Canberra, NOT Sydney or Melbourne.(This person might be reacting to a news story or headline that someone posted on social media which mentions Canberra as the capital of Australia.)
  42. TL;DR – too long; didn’t read
    Contexts all, but most common on online message boards and comments sections
    Usage Type this when you do not take the time to read a long text. You can also ask for someone to give you a “TLDR version” of a text; for example, “Can someone give me the TL;DR for this? I don’t have time to read 30 paragraphs right now.”
    Examples TL;DR. Can someone tell me the main point of the article above?
  43. TMI – too much information
    Contexts all
    Usage Use when someone gives details that you think are unnecessary or too private to share.
    Examples TMI! I don’t need to know about her personal hygiene habits!
  44. TOS – terms of service
    Contexts all
    Examples Does anyone actually ever read the TOS when they start using an app?
  45. TTYL – talk to you later
    Contexts most common in texting and online messaging
    Examples I have to go. Ttyl.
  46. TTYS – talk to you soon
    Contexts most common in texting and online messaging
    Examples TTYS. I’ll be home in 15 minutes.
  47. TY – thank you
    Contexts all
    Examples TY for the update. Much appreciated.
  48. U – you
    Contexts all
    Examples U need to be more careful with your words.
  49. WB – welcome back
    Contexts all
    Examples Hey, Wb. How was your vacation?
  50. YOLO – you only live once
    Contexts all
    Usage Used for encouraging someone to do or experience something unconventional, exciting, rare, dangerous, etc. — or for congratulating someone (or oneself) for doing one of these things.
    Examples Last night, I tried ice cream with pickles. YOLO!