What Does WYM Really Mean Online?

Image made with Canva.com

Have you ever sent a text or posted something on social media and get a reply from someone that says nothing but "WYM?" Even if you've only just seen the acronym around somewhere online, you might still be curious about what it stands for and what it means.

WYM is a meant to be said as a question, which stands for:

What You Mean?

That's right—you're asking what this particular acronym means and ironically, it literally stands for, "what you mean?"

Proper grammatical use would obviously have it expressed as "what do you mean?" but since we're talking about online acronyms here where spelling and grammar are the last of everyone's worries, ​the slang version of this popular question without the “do" portion (and sometimes even without the question mark) seems to be the big trend.

How WYM Is Used

Once you know what WYM stands for, it's usage is pretty self-explanatory. WYM is typically used as a response to somebody else's message or post to express misunderstanding by asking them to clarify or elaborate on what they just said.

When you're having a conversation with one or multiple people online or by text, there's arguably a higher risk of miscommunication or relevant information being left out. Since you can't see other people's faces or hear their tone of voice when communicating digitally by written words alone, you may be left feeling more confused about what they’re trying to say.

Typing is also a slow and time-consuming process, so a post or a text might only include a short explanation and vague information that doesn't paint a proper enough picture. Using WYM is just one way to quickly ask for more information.

Examples of How WYM Is Used

Example 1

Friend #1: "I can't believe what just happened."

Friend #2: "WYM?"

In the above scenario, Friend #2 asks Friend #1 to elaborate on the details of what just happened because either he wasn't there to witness the event he's referring to or he's unsure of exactly which event he's talking about.

Example 2

Friend #1: "Hey dude, we can't meet up today."

Friend #2: "Bro, wym?"

Friend #1: "I've got food poisoning."

In the second scenario above, Friend #1 sends a message but leaves out a piece of information that Friend #2 thinks is important to know. If the two friends were having a face-to-face conversation, Friend #2 might be able to tell by just looking at Friend #1 that he's sick, but online or in text messaging, he needs him to clarify by telling him the reason why they have to cancel their meet-up.

Example 3

Friend #1: “Can’t make the game tonight”

Friend #2: “Wym you can’t make it?”

The above third example demonstrates another request for more information by Friend #2 and also shows how some people might decide to use it in a full sentence. Many people use WYM as a standalone question, but sometimes it gets thrown in a sentence when the asker thinks it's worth referring to the piece of information that needs clarification.