What Does ICYMI Mean? And Other Common Text Acronyms to Make You Crazy

text acronyms meanings
I’m not a lover of text acronyms. Here’s a true story. When I first began to use e-mail, people kept typing “LOL” in their responses. One day, I asked one of them what LOL actually meant, and they got back with “Laughs out loud!” I must have been feeling a bit grouchy that day because I responded: “No need to be sarcastic, pal, just TELL me!”

I kid you not. Since then, I have developed my own range of obscure text acronyms as a secret form of revenge. Try these if you like. Unless people have been writing to me, they will surely be baffled:

  • CHKL = chuckle
  • GGL = giggle
  • GFW = guffaw
  • TTR = titter
  • SNRT = snort

But we’re not here to discuss my off-the-wall, obscure text acronyms. Instead, we’ll talk about the other kind – the ones people use a whole lot.

  • AAAAA = American Association against Acronym Abuse. I’m joining! Where do I sign up?
  • B2B = business to business. There are various permutations: B2C (consumer), B2A (anyone), B2G (government)… you get the picture.
  • BF = best friend or boyfriend. Guys, be careful with this one unless you actually do have a boyfriend. If you do, that’s just fine. If you don’t… well, just saying.
  • BFF = best friends forever. Someone, please bring me a barf bag.
  • BRB = be right back. I’m always tempted to tell people who use this not to break wind in my presence without at least excusing themselves.
  • BTW = by the way. Sigh. Guilty. I use it. I hate myself, but I still use it.
  • FOMO = fear of missing out. And sadly, that’s why I try to keep up with these things. I seriously don’t want another “lol” incident!
  • FWIW = for what it’s worth. A lot like IMHO, see below.
  • FYI = for your information. Alternative interpretation: “waste of time, ignore it.”
  • GIGO = garbage in, garbage out. I think it may predate text speak, but I prefer the long form. Call me old-fashioned and see if I care.
  • ICYMI = in case you missed it. Yes. I missed it. If you had written that out in full, I wouldn’t have.
  • ILY = I love you. Please slap anyone who can’t be bothered to use the full form. Really!
  • IMO = in my opinion. At least it doesn’t even pretend to be humble.
  • IMHO = in my humble opinion, and believe me, it’s never humble. People who say “IMHO” are just plain opinionated.
  • IRL = in real life. You can just tell someone is going to say something annoyingly patronizing when they use that one.
  • MSG = message. I always thought it stood for “monosodium glutamate.” See how ignorant I am?
  • NP = no problem. Again, it’s infectious. The proper response would be LTT (Learn to type – another of my creations), but I’m afraid I’m one of the culprits.
  • OMG = oh my god. Guilty! I even say “OMG” sometimes. It’s invariably followed by a sense of self-loathing.
  • TMI = too much information. Well, if the phrase “too much information” is something you can’t get your head around, no bloody wonder.
  • TTYL = talk to you later. OMG if you are going to TTML in that tone of acronym, I’m not sure if I will handle it.
  • TX, THX or THKS = thanks. Now IMHO, if you’re going to use four of the six letters the word “thanks” consists of, you may as well LTT and include the two vowels. As for the ‘X’ let’s not even go there! #LTS = learn to spell!
  • TXT = text. I don’t think that saving one letter is worth it, but there it is.

Of course, this is just a broad sampling. Digits are (unfortunately) popular, particularly 4 (for) and 2 (to), so we have 2nite, 2day, 2morrow, 4U, B4, 4eva… the hair on the back of my neck is rising, my nails are growing longer, a deep-throated growl is rising up from my belly. Aha! H2O! A sure-fire way to cool down.

But just try telling me “ILY 4eva”, and I swear, I’ll have a hissy fit that’s second to none and go looking for someone with more poetry in their soul and the ability to spell. FWIW it’s entirely possible I’m the only one who doesn’t think these things are cute which is why I am patronizing you with this particular blog post. Then again, you’re actually reading it, so perhaps you are also mystified by text abbreviations.

You may notice that I didn’t include favorites such as “WTF,” but I dislike excessive use of asterisks almost as much as I dislike text acronyms, so most of the acronyms containing the letter F have been excluded. I will leave them up to your imagination.

(Photo courtesy of Jonas Bengtsson)

  • I’m just old. The whole text word acronym thing just confuses the hell out of me. I never know exactly what my kid are trying to say to me hen they use them. This list helps, b there are so many more they seem to use. It’ like learning a whole new language.

    • You do sound old. if a twelve year old can do it and it confuses you, you must be really old. Everyone I know has no problem doing this. What are you, like 30 or something?

      • @12, for the record, I AM forty-eight years-of-age, and I AM NOT old. What I AM, however, is very intelligent and I, like many people who commented, missed the meaning of “ICYMI” because I do not think that is a legitimate abbreviation, and if people wanted it to be, perhaps they would make it a bit more explicit so that, say, no one “missed it.”

        I do not know how old “ohanas,” is, I do know that referring to a total stranger as old is rude. If “ohanas” wants to refer to themself as old, so be it, but you do not necessarily need to agree with them, nor so wholeheartedly.

        • TBF(To be fair–I just made this up ..heehee), 12 seems to have been kidding only. Notice how he ended his comment:” What are you, like 30 or something?!”

          • Wholeheartedly agree. @12 was pretty obviously being facetious. Someone told me once that they could tell I was old (which I am NOT. OK, maybe I’m chronologically old-ish, but I’m highly immature, so that makes up for my calendar age) because I put two spaces between a period and the beginning of the next sentence. That’s not old. That’s just good writing-manners. Whoever said that to me probably can’t read cursive. Maybe I should have sent a handwritten note, instead, and really confused the hell out of them.

      • I’m 29 and don’t know what half of these mean. Want to know why? I have better more important things to be worried about. Its called “being an adult with real responsibilities and not being a 12 year old who can’t even pass their English class, let alone speak or type it properly” so…

      • Hey β€œ12”… you’re either an old person with a cheeky sense of humor, or a mean, bratty, disrespectful 12 year old kid! πŸ€”

  • For all of you who were looking for t meaning of ICYMI among all the acronyms listed above like I was

    ICYMI means “in case you missed it.”

    • I Googled ICYMI and several definition sites appeared, including this one. Before I opened this site, I read the brief opening of each of the other sites. They all read, in case you missed it…. I was muttering to myself the whole time, YES, I missed it! That’s why I’m looking for the definition!! Swear to god. Thank you, Joe, for placing quotation marks around “in case you missed it.” THAT’s when I finally got it. Laugh out loud.

  • This is the easiest way to know how old the person is. If somebody doesn’t know how to text or the meanings of these text words, then you know there are over 30 years old. Anybody who is under 30 years old understands everything here perfectly. The generation gap.

    • And apparently those under 30 cannot spell or properly use words as in their and there and they’re.
      I’m well over 30 and am capable of texting and understanding. Are you?

      • It’s not a matter of “capable” or not. It’s a matter of familiarity. Young people are capable of understanding expressions that were popular 50 or 60 years ago, for instance. They’re just not familiar with them.

      • I am in middle school and I think I can spell perfectly fine. Also this list doesn’t include all of the acronyms people use in texting. It is much better to use Google when you need to use don’t understand an acronym instead.

      • Give the guy(FFXX) the benefit of the doubt. It could’ve been just a typo. I know, I know, he should’ve checked his spelling etc etc, but who does?! Me? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t πŸ˜‰πŸ€£.

    • Absolutely not true. I know many twenty somethings that text in full words or sentences. I also have a great aunt that is 94 she can text in slang and acronyms just as well as any younger person. These cases may very well be outside the norm; I like to think there are many more cases just like these out there.

  • Thank you immensely for putting these in one place so I don’t have to look each one up. I’m 75, have 16 grandchildren and text a lot. They don’t read ems and they don’t call u back if u use the telephone.

  • Thank you. The plethora of acronyms baffle me. What is worse, though, is having Facebook insert what it thinks you are going to type and not being able to change it.

    • The fact that you know how to use the word plethora can attest to the fact that you are far too astute for Facebook or FB if I must. πŸ™‚

  • How curious that ‘youngish’ people are so rude and short tempered, very much like their abbreviated writing, that they have no patience. Get a life, get involved

  • Thank you. I hate these things. They’re used in business all the time. They make people feel left out.

  • TMT — too much texting
    WTMT — Way too much texting
    PYPA — Put your phone away
    GAL — Get a Life

  • I am so totally with you. I hate when people use acronyms, or worse, spell words wrong. The worst thing is when people don’t type in complete sentences. It makes them look like morons.

  • What is funny to me is even when using an acronym doesn’t save on syllables we’ll still use it. Oh my god. OMG. Same amount of time to say each of them.

    • Don’t mind the acronym on a text but I do LOL when I hear someone say the acronym when they speak. I find it quiet amusing.

    • [Yes, Gerry; acronyms are specifically initialisms that are pronounced as a word, instead of saying each letter. MUD is an acronym, while TTYL is an initialism. LOL and OMG are (unfortunately?) making a transition to acronym; at least LOL doesn’t sound like you’re choking, as when you try to pronounce OMG.]

      Generally, acronyms and initialisms were first used in text (and then some got familiar enough that they jumped to speech); so, it’s not a savings on syllables, but a savings on typing characters. That’s one reason computers have so many; the limitations that used to exist forced abbreviations, such as the 3-character limit on file extensions in DOS (Disk Operating System) that meant you labeled a text file as TXT, or an executable file as EXE, or a data file as DAT. And if you were an operator or programmer who typed constantly, every letter you could shorten from a command you often used meant a significant decrease in the number of keystrokes you subjected your digits to in the course of the day.

      Cutting my teeth in early BBSs (Bulletin Board Systems), MUDs (Multi-User Dungeons or Domains) and early multiplayer games with some form of chat window, I was well-used to seeing shorthand like AFK (Away From Keys/Keyboard, or “I gotta hit the head, just letting you know why I’m not responding/my character is standing still for the next couple minutes; my connection didn’t drop.”) If someone used an abbreviation you weren’t familiar with, usually a quick ? as a response would have someone expand it out for you.

      Shorthand is fine; “leet-speak” (to signify you’re cool, or “elite”) was often stupid. I once saw someone use “N E one” — actually using *more* characters than “anyone”, worse if you count pressing the shift key to capitalize the first two. It was a quick way to lose the respect of serious members of many online communities.

      Thank you for coming to my TED talk; I’ll hand the podium back to the MC. πŸ˜€

  • These are abbreviations; NOT Acronyms. You can pronounce acronyms, like AIDS, for acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or Cops, for constable on patrol!

  • Thank you for the list. Unfortunately, I immediately forgot what ICYMI meant and had to reopen your list. I use ‘OMG, brb, lol, tmi and bc’… but the ones like ‘ILY’ I find to be too lazy and even disrespectful of my audience.

  • >