Top 10 Internet Abbreviations


OMG BBQ WTF? The Internet can be full of confusing acronyms, illegible shorthand that helps those in the know but leaves everyone else in the dust. There are dozens of little tricks that can save you time online; here are our top 10.

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1. LOL

The Internet abbreviation so popular, it’s made its way onto a major cable network show. LOL stands for “laughing out loud” and there’s no doubt you’ve seen those adorable pictures of LOL cats, and have maybe even dropped it into a real life conversation or two (you can pronounce LOL “luhl”). If laughing out loud isn’t enough for you, try rolling on the floor laughing with ROFL.

2. WTF

When you just can’t wrap your head around something, try this old standby which stands for “what the f*%k.” Feel free to drop a WTF bomb anytime you’re confused, and if you need to say it out loud spell it out: w-t-f. Extra points for exasperation!


As far as Internet abbreviations, this is a relatively new entry with a strong showing. YOLO stands for “you only live once,” and is usually applied to a dumb thing you’ve done or are about to do. Most often, YOLO is used by a teenager on the cusp of getting in trouble.

4. IDK

If you don’t know, you don’t know and that’s IDK. Where are we going for pizza? What’s particle physics? IDK, you know?

5. BRB

Certainly one of the oldest abbreviations, BRB is for when you’ll be right back while chatting. It can be used in tandem with its sister abbreviationAFK (away from keyboard), though you won’t see this one nearly as much.

6. TL;DR

The next time you reach for “Infinite Jest,” just review with a tl;dr instead; basically, “too long; didn’t read.” Also good for responding to long-winded blog posts.

7. DH

You’ll see this on message boards more than anywhere else, from wives referring to their “dear husbands.” It’s possible to see DD or DS for dear daughter or son, but don’t expect a lot of DWs; it seems husbands are just less concerned about their darling wives.

8. OMG

Works well with WTF, OMG stands for “oh my god” and is suitably used anytime you’re shocked, surprised, or exaggerating exasperation.

9. FML or FTW

If you’re experiencing extreme lows and highs, try these abbreviations which stand for “f*#$ my life” and “for the win.” Did you win the lottery? FTW! Are strangers claiming to be relatives calling up for a handout? FML.

10. BTW

If you have to add in one last unrelated bit, try this code for ‘by the way.’ It’s an oldie but a goodie, quickly changing the subject. BTW, despite the intro, BBQ doesn’t mean much on the Internet.

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Date of original publication:
Updated on: November 10, 2015

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