Text abbreviation is a process in which a word or a phrase is represented in a shorter form, generally using a few letters.
An example of an abbreviation that uses only the initial letters of a short phrase is SMS. It stands for “Short Message Service,” and you can see what each of the letters in SMS represents.
Others, however, shorten one single word rather than a whole sentence. TXT, which stands for “text” is an example of that.
Why do we abbreviate text?
Humans have been abbreviating text since Roman times. Many inscriptions and texts dating back to Ancient Rome have reduced words that show just the first latter. The verb “to abbreviate” comes from Latin “brevis,” which means to turn short.
And the reason why they shortened their messages was time and resources.
Firstly, writing on a piece of brick with metal tools or transcribing a long message with something even less technologically advanced than a pen was laborious. Extremely so.
Secondly, paper (or its equivalent), ink, and literate people were very hard to come by. Not to mention that purchasing – or hiring – these resources was expansive.
To counter that, the abbreviation was a must in most written work performed in those days.
“But why do we still abbreviate text messages today?”
That is a fair question. After all, we have practically unlimited digital resources, pretty much everyone knows how to write, and text messages are virtually free. There are a couple of ways to answer that.
We need to acknowledge that we abbreviate even when we speak. When was the last time someone asked you what time it was you looked at your watch, read “11PM” and said, “it is eleven Post Meridiem?”
But this doesn’t answer why we still abbreviate text messages.
Texting abbreviations in our digital age can be traced back to the beginning of the history of SMS. The main reason: SMS is limited to 160 characters. Back in the day, SMS wasn’t so cheap that you could just send one text message after the other. Plus, typing entire messages on an old mobile phone keypad was a dreadful experience.
39 most commonly used text abbreviation
To this date, we abbreviate text messages. Today we will analyze a few of the most commonly used text message abbreviations.
What does LOL mean in text?
LOL: Laughing out loud
This is a very familiar one that has been around for a long time. Recently, with the advent of the videogame League of Legends, LOL started being used to abbreviate the online multiplayer game.
LOL is also frequently confused with “lots of love.” But it really stands for a situation in which someone wants to share how funny something was.
What does IDK mean in text?
IDK: I don’t know
IDK has also been used for a very long time. Sometimes it is abbreviated as IRDK which means I really don’t know. I
What does FYI mean in text?
FYI: For your information
This is one of those text abbreviations that can be found even in professional settings. Watch out how you use it, however. FYI can seem rather rigid or arrogant if placed incorrectly.
What does TBT mean in text?
TBT: Throwback Thursday
Who doesn’t like to share some nice and sweet memories on social media? That is what a Throwback Thursday post means. Abbreviated with the hashtag #TBT, throwback Thursday’s first records in social media correlates with the birth of Instagram, some ten years ago. The hashtag became very popular, and it is mainly referred to in its abbreviated form TBT
What does LMK mean in text?
LMK: Let me know
What does AKA mean in text?
AKA: Also known as
Another very popular text abbreviation is AKA. It is also one of those abbreviations that can be used both in informal and professional situations.
What does YOLO mean in text?
YOLO: You only live once
If you want to encourage someone to do something by stating that life is too short (and maybe unrepetitive)? Then your text abbreviation is YOLO. “You only live once” is very common as a standalone comment for some messages.
What does DIY mean in text?
DIY: Do it yourself
Although “no, I won’t help you, do it yourself,” looks like a very harsh comment, DIY is not used in this way. Normally, DIY appears when we want to point out something done with our own hands and skills, rather than bought from a shop or made by someone else.
What does BF / GF mean in text?
Boyfriend / Girlfriend
These are very similar, so we grouped them. BF and GF generally mean boyfriend and girlfriend, although sometimes BF might be used to mean “best friend.”
What does DM mean in text?
DM: Direct Message
Another very common abbreviation in social media is DM. This indicates that someone should text you directly through private message.
What does ROFL mean in text?
ROFL: Rolling on floor laughing
Very similar to LOL and can be used interchangeably, ROFL is also another very old text abbreviation that started to be used in the beginning of SMS.
What does LMK mean in text?
LMK: Let me know
Also used in professional situations.
What does OFC mean in text?
OFC: Of course
Mainly used in more informal conversations.
What does AFK mean in text?
AFK: Away from keyboard
AFK started to appear when online chatting was born. “AFK” gives a reason why someone is not replying – “I am not near the computer at the moment” rather than “I am intentionally ignoring you.”
What does BRB mean in text?
BRB: Be right back
BRB is a more modern version of AFK, especially nowadays when the majority of people chat with a mobile phone rather than a computer keyboard.
What does IMO mean in text?
IMO: In my opinion
What does IMHO mean in text?
IMHO: In my honest opinion
A variant of the previous text abbreviation. It can also mean “in my humble opinion”.
What does NBD mean in text?
NBD: No big deal
What does HBD mean in text?
HBD: Happy Birthday
What does FOMO mean in text?
FOMO: Fear of missing out
FOMO is a very interesting abbreviation. It is one of those abbreviations used before text messaging was invented. It describes a feeling of checking something, going somewhere, or doing something just for the fear of not doing it.
What does TTYL mean in text?
TTYL: Talk to you later
Used when you want to say you will catch up with someone after an undefined period.
What does FTW mean in text?
FTW: For the win
Another abbreviation used among gamers. It generally applies to multi-player games, when someone has an approach, tactic, or strategy that is guaranteed to succeed. It also started to be used in non-gaming situations, when a certain event or approach is generally successful or positive.
What does BTW mean in text?
BTW: By the way
One of the most common text abbreviations. Used in informal and professional situations.
What does WRU mean in text?
WRU: Where are you?
What does HW mean in text?
What does TBD mean in text?
TBD: To be defined
Very much used in professional situations, but also informal ones. TBD is an abbreviation that can also mean “To be decided”
What does ASAP mean in text?
ASAP: As soon as possible
Used in many professional situations but also very common among friends. ASAP is used when an answer, action, or resolution to a particular problem requires immediate attention.
What does FAQ mean in text?
FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Mainly a business and professional text abbreviation. FAQ is on most websites that lists answers to problems and queries people have frequently. Sometimes pages have sections called FAQ – expect to find a question and answer section there.
What does OOO mean in text?
OOO: Out Of Office
What does NVM mean in text?
NVM: Never mind
What does THX mean in text?
THX is one of the text abbreviations in which a single word is contracted, rather than a sentence.
What does OMG mean in text?
OMG: Oh, my god
One of the most popular abbreviations out there. It can also mean “Oh, my goodness” or “oh, my gosh.”
What does STG mean in text?
STG: Swear to god
What does ISTG mean in text?
ISTG: I swear to god
What does DW mean in text?
DW: Don’t worry
What does GTS mean in text?
GTS: Good times
What does SFS mean in text?
SFS: Snap for Snap
Frequently used in Snapchat and Instagram when a person posts a content supporting someone else, who in turn does the same. SFS can also mean Shoutout for Shoutout.
What does FT mean in text?
FT can also mean “Featuring,” frequently used when a famous artist participates as collaborator in another artist’s piece of work.
What does OK mean in text?
We had to add “OK” as our last abbreviation. It is very likely the most used one on the entire planet. We say OK even in verbal communication, and it is a word that has been incorporated into many different languages around the globe.
What is fascinating about OK is that there is no consensus on what the letters O and K stand for.
Some propose its origin is in war situations when a platoon would have a zero death count or zero (letter O) killed (letter K). Others propose it was first documented as early as 1839 when it was used to abbreviate Oll Korrect.
What we do know is that OK has a positive meaning. Use it as an abbreviation in any text message you like.