Text Talk and Mobile Device Abbreviations

Our desktop messaging has shifted to our smartphones and tablets, and spelling and grammar have been slashed in favor of thumb-typing speed. All the while, we still need to pack meaningful information, courtesy,​ and etiquette into our messaging.

Hundreds of bizarre texting jargon expressions have spawned as a result. Primarily about shorthand and the removal of capitalization and punctuation, the new jargon is all about speed and brevity. It saves us keystrokes to say ty (thank you) and yw (you're welcome). The new jargon also conveys spontaneous emotion and personal expressions ('O RLY', 'FML', 'TTFN', 'omg').

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Text Talk and Mobile Device Abbreviations

Text Talk: the Most Popular Abbreviations
Text Talk: the Most Popular Abbreviations. Asikainen - Taxi / Getty

Capitalization and punctuation are optional. Yes, your English teachers cringe at this new and loose language of messaging. In text messaging, lowercase is the norm for speed. For desktop email and IM, UPPERCASE is acceptable for emphasizing one or two words a time. BUT PLEASE AVOID TYPING ENTIRE SENTENCES IN UPPERCASE AS THAT IS CONSIDERED RUDE SHOUTING.

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WBU - What About You?

WBU = what about you?
WBU = what about you?. Image Bank / Getty

This expression is used in personal conversations where the two parties are well acquainted.  This expression is commonly used to ask for the other person's opinion or to check for their comfort level with the situation.

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IDC - I Don't Care

IDC - I Don't Care
IDC - I Don't Care. Blended / Getty

IDC is about indifference or indecisiveness. You would use IDC when you are trying to make a decision with your messaging friend, and you are open to multiple options. While IDC is largely an emotion-less term, it can sometimes convey a negative attitude, so it is best to use this expression with friends and not new acquaintances.

e.g. User 1: we can meet at the mall first, then head to the movie in one car, or we all meet in front of the movie ticket box. Wut would you like?

e.g. User 2: IDC, you pick.

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W/E - Whatever

W/E - Whatever
W/E - Whatever. Creative / Getty

Also: wuteva - Whatever

W/E is a dismissive term, often used as a rude way to diminish someone's comment.  It is a way of saying 'I'm not interested in arguing this point anymore', or 'I disagree, but I don't care enough to make an issue of it.'

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PROPS - Proper Respect and Acknowledgement

PROPS - Proper Respect and Acknowledgement
PROPS - Proper Respect and Acknowledgement. Dave Jacobs / Getty

 "Props" is a jargon way to say "Proper Recognition" or "Proper Respect Due". Props is commonly used with the prepositional phrase "to (someone)". As a stylish way to acknowledge someone's skill or achievement, props has become quite common in modern text and email conversations. 

Example of props usage:

  • (User 1) Props to Suresh! That presentation he gave was really darn good.
  • (User 2) Aye, big props to Suresh, for sure. He blew away all the other presenters at the conference. He put lots of work into that, and it really showed this weekend.
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HMU - Hit Me Up

HMU = Hit Me Up
HMU = Hit Me Up. Photographers Choice / Getty

This acronym is used to say " contact me", "text me", "phone me" or otherwise "reach me to follow up on this". It is a modern shorthand way to invite a person to communicate with you further.​

Example of hmu

  • User 1: I could use advice on buying an iPhone vs an Android phone.
  • User 2: Hmm, I read a great article on comparing those two exact phones. I have the link somewhere.
  • User 1: Perfect, HMU! Send that link when you can!
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NP = No Problem

NP = No Problem
NP = No Problem. Photographers Choice / Getty

NP is a jargon way to say "you're welcome", or to say "not to worry about that, everything is fine". You can use NP right after someone thanks you in instant messaging. You can also use NP when someone turns down your request or invitation, and you want to tell them that there are no hard feelings.

Example of NP

  • (first user) We could really use a designated driver tonight.  Are you available? We'll pay for dinner and soft drinks.
  • (second user) Sry, I really need to get some sleep.
  • (first user)  Sure, np, we'll get Jeff or Salma to drive.  Have a good Friday!
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NVM - Never Mind

NVM - Never Mind
NVM - Never Mind. Creative / Getty

Also: NM - Never Mind

This acronym is used to say "please disregard my last question/comment", commonly because the user found the answer seconds after posting the original question. 

Example of NVM usage:

  • (User 1): Hey, how do I change my phone to show your photo when you call?
  • (User 2): Did you look in the contact list settings?
  • (User 1): nvm, I found it! It was on the last screen!
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IDK - I Don't Know

IDK - I Don't Know
IDK - I Don't Know. Tripod / Getty

IDK is a pretty straightforward expression:  you use IDK when you cannot offer an answer to someone's question. Like most of these messaging jargon terms, you would only use IDK for personal conversations or when there is a trusted work relationship established in advance.

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TYVM - Thank You Very Much

TYVM - Thank You Very Much
TYVM - Thank You Very Much. Blend / Getty

Also: TY - Thank You

Also: THX - Thanks

This expression speaks for itself:  it is a form of politeness in English.

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WTF - What the F*ck?

WTF - What the F*ck?
WTF - What the F*ck?. Stone / Getty

This is a blunt expression of shock and concerned confusion.  Somewhat like 'OMG', 'WTF' is used when an alarming event just occurred, or some unexpected and disturbing news was just conveyed.

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LOL - Laughing Out Loud

LOL = Laughing Out Loud
LOL = Laughing Out Loud. Charriau Pierre / Getty

Also: LOLZ - Laughing Out Loud

Also: LAWLZ - Laughing Out Loud (in leetspeak spelling)

Just like ROFL, LOL is used to express spontaneous humour and laughter.  It is perhaps the most common text message expression in usage today.

You will also see variations like LOLZ (a version of LOL, ROFL (Rolling on Floor Laughing), and ROFLMAO (Rolling on Floor, Laugh My Ass Off). In the United Kingdom, PMSL is also a popular version of LOL.

"LOL" and "LOLZ" are often spelled all uppercase, but can also be spelled "lol" or "lolz". Both versions mean the same thing. Just be careful not to type entire sentences in uppercase, as that is considered rude shouting.

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KK = Ok
KK = Ok. Gallo Images / Getty

This peculiar acronym expression stands for "Ok" or "message acknowledged". It is the same as nodding in person or saying "gotcha".  KK is becoming more popular than OK because it is easier to type.

The other bit of history behind "kk" is the 1990's expressions "k, kewl". Translated, this expression meant "ok, cool", but was stylistically spelled otherwise. "k, kewl" undoubtedly also influenced the use of kk in today's online chatting.

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FTW - For the Win

FTW = For the Win!
FTW = For the Win!. Photodisc / Getty

FTW is an internet expression of enthusiasm. While there were nastier meanings in previous years, FTW today commonly stands for "For the Win". "FTW" is the same as saying "this is the best" or "this will make a big difference, I recommend it!"

  • e.g. "anti-lock braking, ftw!"
  • e.g. "spellchecker, ftw!"
  • e.g. "low-carb diets, ftw

*In decades past, FTW had a much harsher meaning. Read more about FTW here...

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BISLY - But I Still Love You

BISLY: But I Still Love You!
BISLY: But I Still Love You!. rubberball / Getty

This slang acronym is used as playful affection, often during online arguments or debates. It can be used to mean 'no hard feelings', or 'we're still friends', or 'I don't like what you just said, but I won't hold it against you'. BISLY is commonly used between people who are familiar with each other.

See examples of BISLY here

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BBIAB - Be Back in a Bit

BBIAB - Be Back in a Bit
BBIAB - Be Back in a Bit. Jupiter Images / Getty

BBIAB is another way of saying 'AFK' (away from keyboard). This is a polite expression that users employ to say they are moving away from their computers for a few minutes. In the context of a conversation, it is a polite way to say that 'I won't be responding for a few minutes, as I'm indisposed'.

See examples of bbiab here