If you’re a regular user of the internet, (who isn’t?) you’ll know that funny acronyms and slang are everywhere. They’re used to shorten words and phrases so users can type less and type faster but, if you don’t understand these internet abbreviations, you might find yourself a bit lost. You probably know some of the common ones like LOL and FTW, but what about weird acronyms like HIFW or GOAT (not the animal)? Let’s take a look at some common internet acronyms and slang.
Meaning: Not safe for work.
This is used as a warning that a post, image, or video contains something that is not suitable to be viewed in public. It’s often used as a tag for images that contain nudity.
Example: The image is NSFW.
Meaning: Parent over shoulder
You might have thought that POS was an insult but, at least if you have kids, they’re likely to use this abbreviation when you’re hovering behind them at the computer. PAW is a similar one meaning Parents Are Watching.
Example: Not now, POS.
Emotions and opinions
Meaning: How I feel when
This is usually paired with a GIF, image, or video that shows how you feel.
Example: HIFW I finally understand the future perfect tense.
Meaning: Before anyone else.
Or, BAE is just short for ‘baby’ and it’s pronounced like ‘bay’. It doesn’t mean the small kind of baby that wears diapers, but rather the boyfriend/girlfriend/BFFL (best friend for life) kind, who you love more than anyone else.
Example: I’m busy tonight with BAE.
Meaning: Same stuff, different day.
The NSFW version of this is “same sh*t, different day”, which is a quote from Stephen King’s novel, Dreamcatcher. It simply means that everything is the same as it was the day before and the day before that. In other words, nothing exciting is happening.
Example: How’s it going, Jen?
You know, SSDD.
Meaning: Too long; didn’t read.
People use tl;dr when they’ve given a really long explanation about something and want to sum it up in one short sentence. This is kind of internet slang for saying ‘in summary’.
Example: TL;DR: this restaurant is terrible.
Meaning: I don’t care.
You don’t really need an explanation for this one, right?
Example: Where do you want to eat tonight?
Meaning: I don’t give a f*ck
F*ck is obviously NSFW so you can use this funny abbreviation to avoid saying it. IDGAF is a more extreme way of saying IDC.
Example: Stop talking about your cat’s diet! IDGAF.
Meaning: Greatest of all time
This acronym is pretty self-explanatory and it’s pronounced ‘goat’, like the animal. We use GOAT to say that someone is the best in a certain area or field.
Example: Mohammed Ali is the GOAT.
Meaning: Today I learned
“Today I learned” is pretty self-explanatory. It’s often used on places like Reddit when someone posts about something interesting they learned that day.
Example: TIL that it’s impossible to hum and hold your nose at the same time. Try it!
11. Pics or it didn’t happen
Meaning: I don’t entirely believe you.
This is often used when someone tells an interesting, and often slightly unbelievable story, and a picture or photo is needed as proof.
Example: I saw Kylie Jenner pumping her own gas today.
Pics or it didn’t happen.
12. Cool story, bro
Meaning: That was not a good story, mate.
This slang phrase is heavy on sarcasm and is often used when a story has gone on for too long or is way off-topic.
Example: Cool story, bro.
13. Do you even lift?
Meaning: I don’t think you know anything about fitness, or you look like you don’t work out.
Do you even lift, bro? is a condescending question that is often asked in fitness forums and the bodybuilding world.
Example: Your arms are so skinny. Do you even lift?
Do you use these funny acronyms and slang terms?
Now you know some of the most common acronyms and slang used on the internet, you can feel more confident writing posts and comments on your favorite forums and YouTube channels. You’ll be able to warn people that something is NSFW or tell them a cool fact beginning TIL. And, if that fact wasn’t interesting enough for the internet, you’ll know about it immediately when people say IDC or IDGAF.
Laura is a freelance writer and was an ESL teacher for eight years. She was born in the UK and has lived in Australia and Poland, where she writes blogs for Lingoda about everything from grammar to dating English speakers. She’s definitely better at the first one. She loves travelling and that’s the other major topic that she writes on. Laura likes pilates and cycling, but when she’s feeling lazy she can be found curled up watching Netflix. She’s currently learning Polish, and her battle with that mystifying language has given her huge empathy for anyone struggling to learn English. Find out more about her work in her portfolio.