What are Some Common Abbreviations Used in Text Messaging?

Cathy Rogers

Most common abbreviations used in text messaging are made by taking the first letter of a word or each word in a phrase. Others incorporate symbols to spell words or make small pictures. A few were used even before text messaging existed, like ASAP for "as soon as possible." Many of the abbreviations used in text messaging are easily recognizable even by those who are not technologically savvy, and are also used in email, social networking, and instant messaging. Most people abbreviate in text messages for convenience, but some hold out and insist on correct English and grammar in texting, though the length limitations on text messages can make this difficult.

BBS stands for "be back soon" in common text parlance.
BBS stands for "be back soon" in common text parlance.

Shortened Phrases and Words

Many of the common abbreviations used in text messaging are shortened versions of expressions, such as AAMOF for "as a matter of fact" IMHO for "in my humble opinion," or PLMK for please let me know." Other common terms include:

LOL is a common abbreviation in text messaging meaning laugh out loud.
LOL is a common abbreviation in text messaging meaning laugh out loud.

In text messaging, a smile can be written as :) or =).
In text messaging, a smile can be written as :) or =).
  • BBS: Be back soon
  • BBT: Be back tomorrow
  • BIB: Boss is back
  • CM: Call me
  • CYE: Check your email
  • DIKU: Do I know you?
  • F2F: Face to face
  • HB: Hurry back
  • JFF: Just for fun
  • KOTC: Kiss on the cheek
  • LOL: Laugh out loud or Lots of love
  • OMG: Oh my God!
  • OOTO: Out of the office
  • PSOS: Parents standing over shoulder
  • PU: That stinks!
  • SLAP: Sounds like a plan
  • TMB: Text me back
  • TXT: Text
  • UGTBK: You’ve got to be kidding
Most text messaging abbreviations are acronyms.
Most text messaging abbreviations are acronyms.

Other abbreviations used in text messaging represent shortened versions of commonly used words, such as B4 (before), NE (any), or W? (why). Other abbreviations used in text messaging for frequently used words include:

"X" means "kiss" in text messaging.
"X" means "kiss" in text messaging.

  • AIGHT: All right
  • GB: Goodbye
  • GL: Good luck
  • HV: Have
  • K or KK: Okay
  • M8: Mate
  • ONL: Online
  • OVA: Over
  • PEEPS or PPL: People
  • PLS: Please
  • PZ: Peace
  • TTLY: Totally
  • W? Why
  • X: Kiss
  • Z: Zero

Abbreviations about People

Other abbreviations used in text messaging represent people or relationships, like BIL (brother in law), SO (significant other), or DWF (divorced white female). Many of these are also used on the Internet, particularly on dating websites, forums, and online classified ads. Some additional terms indicating people include:

  • B/F: Boyfriend
  • BFAW: Best friend at work
  • DD: Dear daughter
  • DH: Dear husband
  • DS: Dear son
  • DW: Dear wife
  • G/F: Girlfriend
  • GRL: Girl

Symbols and Emoticons

Some abbreviations used in text messaging incorporate symbols to represent words or phrases, like 411 for "need information," 121 for "private chat" and ?4U for "question for you." Fewer start with symbols, but some others are

Emoticons, also known as smiley faces, are series of characters that represent a facial expression or symbol. Common emoticons include:

  • :) or =) or ^_^ : smiling or happy
  • :D : laughing
  • :( : sad
  • :X : kiss or lips sealsed
  • (~o~) or Z/ : sleepy
  • (>_
  • @>-->-- : rose
  • %) : confused

Debate about Abbreviating

People tend to use abbreviations when texting because of character limits on text messages, and because abbreviations are quicker to write than full words. This is particularly true on phones that don't have alpha keyboards, since the user has to hit a key several times to cycle through to a letter or number. Other people hate abbreviating, and feel that it's overly casual, rude, or disrespectful. Additionally, some feel that texting with incorrect grammar or abbreviations can damage people's writing and communication skills, particularly those of teens.

Emoticons are often used in texting to convey emotion.
Emoticons are often used in texting to convey emotion.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

anon1002541

what does nicsu mean

anon1001129

What does mhhm mean?

anon998279

What does 10 dots in the middle of a cloud mean.

anon966542

What does <9 mean in text?

anon947818

what does _ _ mean?

anon937246

What does 87 and the emoji of two hands up thumb-to-thumb mean?

anon930873

what does == mean?

anon359239

HTML - hyper text markup language.

anon353513

What does WOOF mean in text/email abbreviation?

anon347183

What does tgat stand for in texting?

amypollick

anon342766: According to my research, "57" means to have sex. With a 14 year old in the house, do yourself a favor and get acquainted with the Urban Dictionary. You'll need it.

anon342766

I have a 14 year old and read his texts. What does the number 57 mean?

anon340242

What does signing the note with wnxo mean?

anon336621

what * means?

anon333724

What does [][][][] mean?

anon309422

If someone texts me the number 42, what does it mean?

anon307071

What does geexe$ mean?

anon303647

t'row = Tomorrow

anon296974

What does it mean when someone sends you a text with just a period?

.

anon291811

What does uiu mean?

anon287211

This is a new one ::r.i.p mom:: Anyone know what it means?

anon286265

On Facebook,I've seen a lot of people writing BOL instead of LOL. What does "BOL" mean?

anon277176

what does 10:-D♥ mean?

toolchick1

This is the best tutorial that this old broad could have gotten. I didn't really want to know all of this to text with but to understand whenever I'd see some of the punctuation shorties. Thank you everyone who responded. I learned so much. I love wiseGEEK. I have always gotten more info than I even thought was available. You all rock. Such positive feedback. No haters.

anon274218

What does bfit mean?

anon260151

What does b-) mean?

anon252204

love at first sight = la1s

anon251483

What does && mean?

anon250191

what is :D

anon249702

What does "URT" mean?

anon249410

What does this mean? X : 9, K :10, A :9

anon242657

what does =*} mean?

anon226854

This was on a text to my daughter. Des it have a meaning? *~*~*

anon226289

<\3 means?

anon213048

what does def mean in texting mode?

anon203509

@anon4165: IM2 probably means, "I am too."

@anon38978: HTML is used for webpages, maybe someone was trying to direct you to a website.

@anon55822: 2/2 or 2/3 could mean 2 out of 2 or 2nd of the 3rd in a series. it depends on how it's used.

@anon92314: :-P is a smiley face sticking its tongue out.

anon174960

what does X9 mean? I just got this and it's so confusing.

anon170664

what does this mean ^~^ in text messaging?

anon165506

I think that text symbols come in handy when your in a hurry or just messing around but there are some times when you should just spell it out so they understand exactly what you're saying.

anon163408

wbu? = what about you?

w8 = wait

anon163407

ttyl=talk to you later

brb= Be right back

ur= your

r= are

u= you

pce= peace

w.e.= whatever

anon159919

if you're texting and you want to kiss someone then you put :* the ":" is the eyes and the "*" is the lips.

anon159125

@19: "pp" means people and "n" means no or know

Lindsay87

What does "sjurt lal" mean when texting?

anon138428

What does ^ mean when posted below a comment on Facebook?

anon138123

What's *q

anon133786

What does LOLFISH mean?

Drvin Pls CB- Driving please call back.

anon131946

what does :/ mean in text messaging?

anon129946

What does /n/ and /ni/ mean?

anon124687

What is ({}) ?

anon124396

What does m^m mean?

anon123579

<3 is a heart. and <\3 is a broken heart.

anon123362

what does </3 mean?

anon122731

What does slow stand for?

anon121229

What does :) mean?

anon114420

Some of your comments are quite surprising. You realize that the longer a text message gets, the more likely it is to be split up into two or even three separate messages. Some people get charged for sending/receiving text messages, per message.

If a person does not have specific data packages from their cell phone provider, this can get quite costly, fast. I have seen companies charge as much as 25 or 30 cents per message. Therefore, the point of messaging in the first place is to be as short, concise, and to the point as possible.

People don't mean to confuse others with this lingo but it saves time and money for a lot of people to use abbreviations; and if you think about it, most of them are pretty easy to understand and make perfect sense in the context of the message. By the way, no one ever answered the person who asked what roflmao means: It's "Rolling on the floor laughing my bleeping Bleep off". See how much space (and money) was saved by typing it rotflmao?!

Signed- 30-something years old and electronically hip.

anon113178

it is way easier to understand the abbreviations if you use common ones.

anon107683

What is rotflmfao?

anon106606

What does TCL mean?

anon105637

what does this abbreviation mean ({})

anon104127

angeltouch22 - dm is - don't matter

anon102900

dmv?

anon102089

What is smhslt?

anon100186

What do (><) texting symbols mean?

anon92314

what's :-P

anon88057

The main reason why people use the text slang, is simply because they are lazy. they cannot be bothered to write out later, or lots of love and even what are you up to? It's nothing more, nothing less. It's just laziness.

anon84438

:X can also mean keeping your mouth closed or when you have said something you shouldn't have said.

anon84436

aamof= as a matter of fact

anon82843

well if you have a ) by ; it signifies a wink so it looks like this ;).

anon82282

What does

;

signify?

anon80522

"what" means Who has a turtle.

Just kidding.

What does AAMOF mean?

scotthoins

:X means kiss

anon74742

What does "What" mean in text talk?

anon74366

What is BIM?

anon72649

smh means 'shaking my head'

anon71640

does anyone know what PPN means? My teenage son uses it.

anon64354

What does this symbol mean? :X

anon62641

yes type the words. i saw people wrote their cover letters for jobs using these abbreviations. that just shows how lazy you are!

anon57470

OMegaWolf747, You get a limited amount of characters to send a message and spelling out every word the full way will take up too much space and not to mention the waste of time of having to spell out longer words.

anon56974

What does DDX mean?

anon55822

What is 2/2 and 2/3?

anon54564

what does smh mean?

anon51733

this list is nothing..you left out:

ROTFL - Rolling On The Floor Laughing

LMAO - Laughing My Ass Off

OMGsh (same as OMG)- Oh My Gosh

L8r - Later

WTF - What the f*

WTH - What the hell

there's more, but some of these abbreviations aren't even used nowadays.

anon50283

it's long.

anon47258

What does sss mean?

anon41165

What is IM2?

anon38978

What does HTML mean in texting?

anon38925

DM- doesn't matter, and i don't understand why people don't just type normal words rather than confuse ohers by using silly little abbreviations.

angeltouch22

What is dm?

OmegaWolf747

Text talk is the bane of the orthographer. What is wrong with just typing out the words?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: