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39 Most Commonly Used Text Message Abbreviations

Check some of the most used text abbreviations and learn what they mean and when to use them properly.

Fernando Cintra

wrote inFacts

4 min read

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.

Ohters, 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 abbreviation.

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 means 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

3What 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

19.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

HW: Homework

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: Thanks

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: FaceTime

FT can also mean "Featuring," frequently used when a famous artist participates as collaborator in another artist's piece of work.

OK

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

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