I Don't Think It Means What You Think It Means

It's inconcievable for a blogger or social media junkie these days to write out full words. After all, let's face it, thumbing on the smartphone can cause cramps. And when we've got four windows open on the laptop: writing our blog posts, reading the news, checking out facebook and chatting online, we need the maximum result with the minimum effort.

Thus the rise of acronyms. Acronyms in social media have become a social construct of sorts - and they've changd over time and in different situations as well. They're fairly plastic according to the community one uses them in.

Did that sound smart enough?

What I mean is that the acroymns we used five years ago may be spelled the same, but the ideas they represent - for it goes beyond the physical words they represent - have changed in that time. As well, what one community reads into an acronym is very different than what a seperate community would read into.

Take for example the acronym "DP." In some chat rooms this means "display picture," which can be used to indicate someone's avatar (or also can be used to say you want to switch to video chat or see someone's picture). If, however you were on a lesbian parenting site, and someone said "lurve your DP" that could be taken to mean "I'm planning on stealing your hot female partner from you." Because in that arena DP would mean "dear partner."

So see, it's important to understand that acronymns have meaning in context but also in social setting.

Frankly I think we should stop being such lazy blighters and imbeciles and just type what we mean, but whatever. Here's what I'm going to think you mean when you use these acronyms:

LOL (physical translation: laughing out loud):
If you're writing it when retweeting one of my posts it means "I haven't actually read this, but if I say it amused me than probably she'll retweet one of my posts so here it goes."
If you're telling me something and end with "lol" it means "I know what I just said was offensive but I want to maintain my passive-agressive neutrality and pretend I was just trying to be funny" or "I'm telling an utter lie here and I hope you catch it."
If I say something funny and you respond with "lol" (dear Lord do not do this IRL "in real life") then I hear "I am an automaton that realises you were trying to be funny and am attempting to respond appropriately."

PMSL (physical translation: pissing myself laughing):
If you're writing it in reponse to one of my posts then it means you actually did read it and may have smiled for a second once or twice.
If you're spreading gossip or relaying news to me and end with "pmsl" it means "damn I shouldn't be pleased by this but I am!"
If I say something funny and you respond with "pmsl" (see tip above) then I hear "Yeah I kinda laughed at that one."

IRL (physical translation: in real life):
This is just chock full of sarcasm and lacking in any real meaning anyway. We all know that facebook, Twitter, and our blogs are "real" life. I love it when people say "But you're so busy in IRL, no wonder you didn't have time to blog." That means "Haha. I know you're incapable of handling the millions of things the rest of us mothers do. Chill out cause you're pissing me off with your stress."

NAK (physical translation: nursing at keyboard):
While this is a convienant excuse for your bad spelling and grammar typos or your overuse of acronyms, it just doesn't fly. I'm nursing while I type too. Heck I've nursed while I've had a shit. I don't have to declare it to the world. What this says to me is "I'm breastfeeding and I'd like to point out that I'm breastfeeding. I'm doing it right now. I'm taking a photo with my webcam. Do you want to know why? Because I'm wonderful. Because I'm breastfeeding. I'm giving my baby the best and multi-tasking while I do it. I am the BEST MOM EVER!"

DH, DS, DD, LO (all "dear" members of your family):
There is no other explanation for this than "I'm a tired mom and I've forgotten the names and gender of all my children. I think I'm married. I'm not sure if he's a dear husband or a dreary hole-licker."

WTF (physical translation: what the fuck?):
This one's pretty straightforward, actually. It expresses surprise or disgust. Or in the case of "WTF are you talking about now," general world-weariness (or at least weariness of me). However, some people, probably the same ones I hear out and about saying "and then I was, like, fuck that. And he was all fucking nasty. And I felt so, like, fucking, you know, upset...." overuse it. Their response to everything is WTF? If the world surprises you that much perhaps you should just lock yourself in the basement. In other words: if you don't have brain cells please don't pretend to have opinions.

FTW (physical translation: "for the win" OR "fuck the world"):
First it's confusing that it's got two translations. What's even more confusing is my dyslexic take on it as being "what the fuck" backwards. Therefore I always read it as "fuck the what" which is like the surprise of WTF but with added confusion. I kinda like my meaning more. So I'm not going to change it. Sorry.

IMO (physical translation: in my opinion):
We all know what this means. "I don't agree with you and I think you're an idiot, but I'm going to diminish the pure vehemence of my disagreement (and hatred for you) by declaring that what I'm about to say is just my opinion."

IMHO (physical translation: in my humble opinion):
Again, pretty straight-forward. "I hate you. I hate everything you say. I know you feel the same about me. I know you and all your friends are about to flame me for saying this. But here goes. I'll get my friends to defend me later."

FWIW (physical translation: for what it's worth):
Like the two above it's pretty clear what this means. "I think you're an idiot and can't understand factual evidence vs. anecdotal evidence, so I'm going to do my best to educate you just a little but I doubt it will stick to a brain-dead monkey like you."

That's about it. For more interesting translations, check out Bianca's post on the subject. She knows oodles more than me, LOL!

Meanwhile, leave your favourite acronym and it's real translation for me in the comments.


  1. FYI. I use it at work when forwarding stuff to my boss that he ought to read but I know he won't. I like it because he thinks it means For Your Information. I mean it as Fuck Yourself, Idiot.

  2. IMNSHO, this is a great post. I did used to use NAK as an excuse for typos, back in the day when DD and DS, whatever the heck their names are, were taking up much of my spare time and mammaries. LOL.

  3. I think you missed the vital need for winky smilies as well after LOL

    LOL followed by ;) means I'm only joking and therefore am allowed to say whatever I want and you can't take offence because IT IS A JOKE. Any attempt to take offence will only make you look like a Dreary Hole-licker with no sense of humour regardless of whether I just told you your dead mother is a skank ho bitch or your blog is so full of crap that it should be renamed Scatalogicaly A Parent.

    LOL ;)

  4. well I'm roflmao at Heather's comment now. Let's see you explain that one!

  5. @Steve: That's quite brilliant really. Love your deconstruction of the acronymn.

  6. @Trudy: I'm not quite sure I understand you.... LOL ;-)

  7. @Heather:
    IMHO, IRL You're a See You Next Tuesday ;-)LOL;)

  8. @Liveotherwise: Please ignore Heather. If you feed her she'll attach to you like a little orphaned penguin.

  9. Lmbho (laughing my butt hairs off) ;-P

  10. FYYSEDR*

    *please note the distinct lack of smilies and LOL-age

  11. @Dana
    That's a good one. For more about butt hairs, read Steve's post - it's on my sidebar.

  12. @Heather,
    A SE is the only kind of DR I'd want to be.

  13. Too bad that guy in the loo had not read this post & LHBHO.

  14. Oh, now I'm enlightened. I had started to wonder what Lol etc pp meant...
    (not currently nursing at keyboard hence I can make up acronyms)

  15. i read ftw the same as you.

    i read a quotation the other day, i think it was f scott fitzgerald who said that an exclamation mark used in writing is like laughing at your own joke, so try not to use it. i wonder what he'd think of today's language, let alone this misfiring of exclamation often seen ---> !!!11

  16. I have a friend who used LOL in social networking. She left me a message saying "hope funeral went ok, been thinking about you all day LOL" . Try to cough acronyms at hated co-workers. Nothing more satisfying than coughing FU as miss prissy pants walks down the corridor. I work in a world of acronym mania I love throwing the odd curve ball in to see if anyone has the balls to ask what it means ~#>)

  17. Ha missed the explanation that to her LOL is lots of love !! I am not nursing but I am in the bath. TMI?!

  18. @Kelloggsville: Oh My! I forgot TMI. Darn. Oh well, a post for another day. Are you using your phone? Aren't you worried you'll drop it in the tub. Unfortunately, living in Canada - land of free medicare but world's highest data transfer rates - I can't afford a phone AND a data plan. One or the other, but not both. Are they waterproof?
    I've done the FU thing quite often myself. I also find if someone is nasty to you and you shake their hand and say "fuck you very much" they really do hear it as "thank you very much."

  19. @ana: Yes, I've remember hearing the same quote. And it's very true. I use explanation marks when I want to sound light and fluffy (when writing freelance peices for fluff sites). Otherwise I try to avoid them - except for the sarcastic use of them. There are so many sides to the exclamation mark, now that I think of it.

  20. @cartside: I like DAKADWTFITBTMIRF or "drinking at keyboard and don't know WTF I'm typing but to me it's really funny."

  21. @Dana: You seem to have quite the fascination with butt hairs. I like you. Perhaps you ought to consider joining my bloggossip love hexagon.

  22. I never knew what FTW meant when folk used it. to be honest, even now you've told me I STILL DON'T get it. I guess I'm too old for FTW.

    LOLlers bug me -agree with every word. But love that my aunt signed every email with it for months because she thought it meant Lots of Love!

  23. I use lol differently...

    to me it means 'i just realized that what i wrote could be taken as bitchy but that isnt how i wrote it. Im nice, please dont hate me'


    'I read what you wrote and see you were trying to be funny. Your comment/post/whatever made me smile. Sort of. Well, you are sweet and i got the intended humor'

  24. @Missy: I think FTW (for the win) is supposed to be used to indicate approval. Like "DH brought home pizza, FTW." Or dissaproval (fuck the world), like "the pedo only got 6 months in jail, FTW." But that's just confusing. So I fail to use it. Or FU (fail to use).

  25. @ Pelvis (btw, love your name - oh darn, there's another "btw"),
    You're obviously a nicer person than me.

  26. @Readily

    I keep trying to write a reply without using an exclamation point, lol or a smiley face.

    I cant do it, what am i twelve?

    Apparently, yes.

  27. @Pelvis,
    You did it! (that's a cultural more exclamation point, it's allowed)

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  29. Thankyou. (<< itching to put a smiley there)

    Thought of another, 'atm'.

    What can i say, im a giver.

  30. NAK ? Really?
    And what's up with the whole focus on beloved baby and bonding and stuff ?
    Funny post. I am always a little late on acronyms, and have to look them up, but I know foreign ones - fg :D mdr !
    my favorite one is actually FML.

  31. I'm with VBinC.

    What about WADR (with all due respect)? Had a former colleague who started all her conversations with this - okay, so I made the acronym up, bear with me - and in effect it meant "I really don't give a shit about what you think, if I want your opinion I will give it to you."

    I stood up and walked out on her so-called 'meetings' a few times when these were the first words that came out of her mouth.

    SLAG. (That's slag, in any language)

    LCM x

  32. See, now if you say DP to me I just think you want double penetration!

    Actually crying with laughter reading this post! So freaking accurate!

  33. Very funny post! But funniest one I read was someone's mum who was writing to tell about her father dying and signed off LOL! She didn't realise it did NOT mean Lots of Love!

  34. SIDKWTFYATABIWYTFMBALMOFATOAMPASMMPSIGTLYACA (Sorry I don't know what the fuck you are talking about but I want you to follow my blog and like me on Facebook and Tweet out all my posts and send me monkey porn so I am going to leave you a comment and a smiley face anyway) ;P LOL


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