13 Internet Slang Terms You Need to Know


Keeping up with the latest online lingo is tough. If SMH, TBH, or FOMO don’t ring a bell, you better read on to figure out what the hell people are saying in cyberspace these days.

SMH: “Shaking My Head,” an expression of disbelief or disapproval. Example: My colleague just showed up to work in a mesh shirt. SMH

ICYMI: “In Case You Missed It.” Example: ICYMI, I started using frivolous acronyms.

TBH: “To Be Honest.” Used similarly to IMHO, which extends out to “In My Honest Opinion.” Example: TBH, the thought of Mitt Romney dressed as a polar bear kind of turns me on.

GIF: GIF stands for “Graphics Interchange Format,” which allows for a limited moving image, like a repeating moment from a movie. Once just the territory of “Saved by the Bell” memes, they’re now used by high-end publications like The Atlantic Wire.

BTW: “By the Way.” Alternatively, you can say “BT dubs,” but you’ll just end up sounding like a 13-year-old girl.

NP: “No Problem.” Used by people whose mothers never taught them to say thank you (or ty).

ROTF: “Rolling on the Floor.” When LOL just isn’t enough.

FOMO/JOMO: “Fear of Missing Out” and “Joy of Missing Out.” Used mostly by Type A startup entrepreneurs, like Anil Dash and Caterina Fake, who came up with the abbreviations.

AWK: “Awkward.” Used by self-conscious liberal arts students, and parrots whose owners are too lazy to teach them to talk.

YOLO: “You Only Live Once.” Coined by hip-hop star and unabashed nana-lover Drake, meaning that you should take risks and live life to the fullest — because if Steve Jobs couldn’t cheat death, the rest of us are probably screwed.

BB: A vaguely condescending term of affection, short for “baby” — the sort of thing said by a girl who’s not going to sleep with you because she really values your friendship.

TBT: “Throwback Thursday.” Usually used as a hashtag on Instagram and Twitter. #tbt is a chance to take a break from posting pictures of things that just happened.

IRL: “In Real Life” — meaning not on the Internet, where most of us secretly prefer spending most of our time. After all, you can’t just sign off 10 minutes into getting a drink with that dude you kind of knew in college. Sorry, Brad, you just don’t make me lol IRL.

What other wacky slang terms do you know of?