“OMG, I just figured out what SMH means!”
That was me a few months ago and, apparently, I’m not the only one. It took me some time to understand that this acronym means “shaking my head.” After seeing it repeatedly on Twitter and Facebook, I decided to Google it. And voilà, now I know.
The Internet and texting have made all these “secret” languages possible. From using acronyms for everything, AKA “acronyming,” to other types of coding languages like 1337 (leetspeak), these types of slang exist in different communities online. Gamers, Twitter users and even teenagers that text a lot use these shortcuts to communicate. As a result, some of these acronyms or terms have made it into our daily Internet language usage, too (think LOL: laughing out loud).
This type of slang has emerged alongside a need to save time while texting or abbreviate long words or actions to save on character count. As most of us are aware, Twitter only permits Tweets to be 140 characters, which include spaces and punctuation.
As an example of how these acronyms and abbreviations have infiltrated our everyday language, the Oxford Dictionaries announced on Wednesday that they have added some of the words contained in this slide show to the dictionary, according to an article in Time.
If you see any of the following acronyms as comments or replies to your posts on social media, now you’ll know what they mean.
Laughter and other common actions:
1. LOLz, LOLZ, lolz, Lolz = Is the plural of LOL (Laughing Out Loud), but instead of having an “s,” people write it with a “z”. Some say its usage started in the leetspeak circles. Others say that when you write LOLz, it means you’re laughing out loud sarcastically.
2. OH = OverHeard. You’ll see tweets like “OH: Looks like it’s going to rain cats and dogs.”
3. HT, H/T or Via = Hat Tip or Heard Through. If it is a hat tip, it refers to when one gives thanks or acknowledges information or news to another user; used mostly by bloggers and “Via” is also used the same way. Heard Through is self-explanatory.
4. SMH = Shaking My Head. Used in a post to express that something is embarrassing or to express disapproval. This is usually accompanied by an implied “tsk tsk.”
5. AFAIK = As Far As I Know
6. WBU = What About You?
Warnings and things learned:
7. CC = Carbon Copy. Although you will never physically use a “carbon copy” to be able to Tweet or write anything on the Web, this has the same usage as the “CC” on your emails: to make sure that a Twitter user sees your Tweet, used with the @ mention and their Twitter handle.
8. ICYMI = In Case You Missed It. Usually employed when retweeting your own content from earlier or in lieu of “things you should know today” that can also be used to recap previous news.
9. IMHO or IMO = In My Humble Opinion or In My Opinion.
10. NSFW = Not Safe For Work. If you’re at work, you better NOT click on the link or a post that contains this acronym. It means that the link, photo, video or even the Tweet itself contains graphic or inappropriate content.
11. TIL = Today I Learned is a great way to share funny or interesting pieces of knowledge. For example: “TIL how annuities work.”
12. TL;DR or TLDR = Too Long; Didn’t Read. When you see a comment, post or Tweet with this, it means that the user didn’t completely read the article mentioned on the post and will comment or offer their opinion about it regardless. The user might also offer some sort of summary in a few words from what they did read. However, according to Mashable, it can also be used as a dismissive comment or insult.
13. W/ = With