What Does FWIW Mean?

This acronym stands for a popular phrase you're probably familiar with

FWIW is a popular online phrase but it can be hard to interpret just by looking at it and taking wild guesses. In this article, you'll learn its meaning, how it's used and alternatives to using it.

FWIW Meaning

FWIW stands for 'for what it's worth', meaning a piece of information may or may not be useful or of value to another person.

What's key here is that the person using FWIW believes it's more than likely the information is indeed useful. It's similar to saying, "This may or may not matter," or "If it helps," in reference to potentially useful or valuable information.

How FWIW Is Used

FWIW can be used at the beginning or at the end of a sentence.

The acronym is often used to help express practicality, optimism, and consideration for another person's feelings. In these cases, FWIW conveys the message a person is just doing their best to try to help.

It might also convey the message a person should take advantage of the existing usefulness or value of something, rather than worrying or complaining it's not as useful or valuable as they want it to be.

Sometimes, used alongside a piece of random information a person already knows is mostly useless, biased, or self-serving. When the acronym is used this way, it's is more of a tool for expressing sarcastic humor.

An image graphic of a text message saying, "FWIW" on a smartphone.
A text message saying, "FWIW" on a smartphone.

Examples of Use

Example 1

Friend #1: "Can't believe I slept in and was late to work on my first day. How humiliating..."

Friend #2: " 4:54 pm on a Monday and I'm still in my PJs, FWIW."

In this first example, used to help someone else feel better about their personal situation. Friend #2 uses it to encourage Friend #1 to see things from a broader perspective in hopes of lightening their spirits.

Example 2

Friend #1: "My internet was down and now all the electives I wanted to take this semester are full... ! Ugh."

Friend #2: "FWIW, there are still openings for the psych and astronomy classes. I heard they're pretty good."

This second example shows how FWIW can be used to help think more practically and optimistically. Friend #2 uses it to inform Friend #1 there's probably nothing they can do to get into the elective classes that they want, but there are still some good options out there.

Example 3

Facebook status update: "FWIW, Dinosaurs was the best TV show of all time"

This final example shows how FWIW might be used in a sarcastic, humorous way to share something that really has no value at all. This Facebook user uses it to simply share a random opinion about a TV show, perhaps hoping to attract a few likes or comments from friends who agree.

Alternative Acronyms to Use

If you're not too keen on using FWIW yourself, there are other acronyms you can use to convey a similar message. All of these alternatives can be used at the beginning or end of a sentence where you're sharing your own perspective:

  • TBH: To Be Honest
  • IIH: If I'm Honest
  • IMO: In My Opinion
  • IMHO: In My Humble Opinion
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