What Is 'AFAIK'? What Does 'AFAIK' Mean?

This slang abbreviation is used to convey uncertainty

Illustration of a woman reading a phone screen.

Lifewire / Jiaqi Zhou 

AFAIK is used to convey uncertainty when answering a question in online texting or email: "As far as I know." You will see this acronym both in uppercase AFAIK and lowercase afaik form, both meaning the same thing. This expression is also used interchangeably with the acronym IIRC (If I Recall Correctly).

So, you could be having a conversation with someone who asks, "WYD tonight?" where you respond, "AFAIK, nothing."

Examples of AFAIK usage:

  • AFAIK, Wikileaks is where you go to blow the whistle on your boss.
  • afaik, chocolate is really bad for dogs.
  • afaik, Canada has never executed a prisoner in the 20th or 21st centuries.
  • Any legal resident of the USA can join the Marine Corps, AFAIK.
  • Donald Trump's position on climate change does address carbon tax AFAIK

Example of AFAIK usage:

(User 1) I need a suggestion for how to best feed our two malamute dogs and our german shepherd. They are all big eaters and are all over 75 lbs each. Our GSD is allergic to chicken meal.

(User 2) AFAIK, the best neutral food for dogs with sensitive stomachs is either lamb or turkey or white fish. Perhaps try Orijen or Acana brand kibble for large breeds?

Example of AFAIK usage:

(User 1) I saw some really crazy sh*t at work today. The shippers were throwing customers' boxes around and kicking them like footballs

(User 2) What? That's nuts! People will lose their jobs for that!

(User 1) AFAIK that is cause for dismissal at our warehouse

(User 2) Did you get video?

(User 1) I tried, but they saw me watching them.

(User 2) Dude, video them next time and show your boss. That's dishonest shiz and customers deserve better.

Example of AFAIK usage:

(User 1) Can cats eat chocolate? I think our cat was nibbling on this dark chocolate bar in the kitchen.

(User 2) AFAIK, chocolate is poisonous to cats and dogs when eaten in large portions. Like half a chocolate bar or more.

(User 1) Really? Damn. Good thing it was only a little bit! 

(User 2) I suggest watch him carefully and take him to the vet if he starts to seem lethargic or out of sorts!

Example of AFAIK usage:

(Mike) Does Canada sanction capital punishment?

(User 2) AFAIK, Canada has never executed a prisoner in the 20th or the 21st century.

(User 1) Sounds about right. Canadians are nice people.

The AFAIK expression, like many cultural curiosities of the Internet, is a part of modern English communication.

Expressions Similar to AFAIK:

  • IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
  • YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)

How to Capitalize and Punctuate Web and Texting Abbreviations:

Capitalization is a non-concern when using text message abbreviations and chat jargon. You are welcome to use all uppercase (e.g. ROFL) or all lowercase (e.g. rofl), and the meaning is identical. Avoid typing entire sentences in uppercase, though, as that means shouting in online speak.

Proper punctuation is similarly a non-concern with most text message abbreviations. For example, the abbreviation for 'Too Long, Didn't Read' can be abbreviated as TL;DR or as TLDR. Both are an acceptable format, with or without punctuation.

Never use periods (dots) between your jargon letters. It would defeat the purpose of speeding up thumb typing. For example, ROFL would never be spelled R.O.F.L., and TTYL would never be spelled T.T.Y.L. 

Recommended Etiquette for Using Web and Texting Jargon 

Knowing when to use jargon in your messaging is about knowing who your audience is, knowing if the context is informal or professional, and then using good judgment. If you know the people well, and it is a personal and informal communication, then absolutely use abbreviation jargon. On the flip side, if you are just starting a friendship or professional relationship with the other person, then it is a good idea to avoid abbreviations until you have developed a relationship rapport.

If the messaging is in a professional context with someone at work, or with a customer or vendor outside your company, then avoid abbreviations altogether. Using full word spellings shows professionalism and courtesy. It is much easier to err on the side of being too professional and then relax your communications over time than doing the inverse.