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What are Some Common Abbreviations Used in Text Messaging?

Text messaging has its own language, brimming with abbreviations to keep chats quick and casual. Common ones include "LOL" for laughter, "BRB" for a short break, and "OMG" for surprise. These shortcuts weave efficiency into our daily communication. Ever wondered how they shape our interactions? Join us as we examine the impact of these digital shorthand phrases on modern conversation.
Cathy Rogers
Cathy Rogers

Most common abbreviations used in text messaging are made by taking the first letter of a word or each word in a phrase. Others incorporate symbols to spell words or make small pictures. A few were used even before text messaging existed, like ASAP for "as soon as possible." Many of the abbreviations used in text messaging are easily recognizable even by those who are not technologically savvy, and are also used in email, social networking, and instant messaging. Most people abbreviate in text messages for convenience, but some hold out and insist on correct English and grammar in texting, though the length limitations on text messages can make this difficult.

Shortened Phrases and Words

Many of the common abbreviations used in text messaging are shortened versions of expressions, such as AAMOF for "as a matter of fact" IMHO for "in my humble opinion," or PLMK for please let me know." Other common terms include:

  • BBS: Be back soon
  • BBT: Be back tomorrow
  • BIB: Boss is back
  • CM: Call me
  • CYE: Check your email
  • DIKU: Do I know you?
  • F2F: Face to face
  • HB: Hurry back
  • JFF: Just for fun
  • KOTC: Kiss on the cheek
  • LOL: Laugh out loud or Lots of love
  • OMG: Oh my God!
  • OOTO: Out of the office
  • PSOS: Parents standing over shoulder
  • PU: That stinks!
  • SLAP: Sounds like a plan
  • TMB: Text me back
  • TXT: Text
  • UGTBK: You’ve got to be kidding

Other abbreviations used in text messaging represent shortened versions of commonly used words, such as B4 (before), NE (any), or W? (why). Other abbreviations used in text messaging for frequently used words include:

  • AIGHT: All right
  • GB: Goodbye
  • GL: Good luck
  • HV: Have
  • K or KK: Okay
  • M8: Mate
  • ONL: Online
  • OVA: Over
  • PEEPS or PPL: People
  • PLS: Please
  • PZ: Peace
  • TTLY: Totally
  • W? Why
  • X: Kiss
  • Z: Zero

Abbreviations about People

BBS stands for "be back soon" in common text parlance.
BBS stands for "be back soon" in common text parlance.

Other abbreviations used in text messaging represent people or relationships, like BIL (brother in law), SO (significant other), or DWF (divorced white female). Many of these are also used on the Internet, particularly on dating websites, forums, and online classified ads. Some additional terms indicating people include:

  • B/F: Boyfriend
  • BFAW: Best friend at work
  • DD: Dear daughter
  • DH: Dear husband
  • DS: Dear son
  • DW: Dear wife
  • G/F: Girlfriend
  • GRL: Girl

Symbols and Emoticons

LOL is a common abbreviation in text messaging meaning laugh out loud.
LOL is a common abbreviation in text messaging meaning laugh out loud.

Some abbreviations used in text messaging incorporate symbols to represent words or phrases, like 411 for "need information," 121 for "private chat" and ?4U for "question for you." Fewer start with symbols, but some others are <3, which represents a sideways heart; 4COL for "for crying out loud," and 2G2BT for "too good to be true."

Emoticons, also known as smiley faces, are series of characters that represent a facial expression or symbol. Common emoticons include:

  • :) or =) or ^_^ : smiling or happy
  • :D : laughing
  • :( : sad
  • :X : kiss or lips sealsed
  • (~o~) or Z/ : sleepy
  • (>_<) : embarrassed
  • @>-->-- : rose
  • %) : confused
  • <3 : heart

Debate about Abbreviating

In text messaging, a smile can be written as :) or =).
In text messaging, a smile can be written as :) or =).

People tend to use abbreviations when texting because of character limits on text messages, and because abbreviations are quicker to write than full words. This is particularly true on phones that don't have alpha keyboards, since the user has to hit a key several times to cycle through to a letter or number. Other people hate abbreviating, and feel that it's overly casual, rude, or disrespectful. Additionally, some feel that texting with incorrect grammar or abbreviations can damage people's writing and communication skills, particularly those of teens.

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Discussion Comments


what does nicsu mean


What does mhhm mean?


What does 10 dots in the middle of a cloud mean.


What does <9 mean in text?


what does _ _ mean?


What does 87 and the emoji of two hands up thumb-to-thumb mean?


what does == mean?


HTML - hyper text markup language.


What does WOOF mean in text/email abbreviation?


What does tgat stand for in texting?


anon342766: According to my research, "57" means to have sex. With a 14 year old in the house, do yourself a favor and get acquainted with the Urban Dictionary. You'll need it.


I have a 14 year old and read his texts. What does the number 57 mean?


What does signing the note with wnxo mean?


what * means?


What does [][][][] mean?


If someone texts me the number 42, what does it mean?


What does geexe$ mean?


t'row = Tomorrow


What does it mean when someone sends you a text with just a period?



What does uiu mean?


This is a new one ::r.i.p mom:: Anyone know what it means?


On Facebook,I've seen a lot of people writing BOL instead of LOL. What does "BOL" mean?


what does 10:-D♥ mean?


This is the best tutorial that this old broad could have gotten. I didn't really want to know all of this to text with but to understand whenever I'd see some of the punctuation shorties. Thank you everyone who responded. I learned so much. I love wiseGEEK. I have always gotten more info than I even thought was available. You all rock. Such positive feedback. No haters.


What does bfit mean?


What does b-) mean?


love at first sight = la1s


What does && mean?


what is :D


What does "URT" mean?


What does this mean? X : 9, K :10, A :9


what does =*} mean?


This was on a text to my daughter. Des it have a meaning? *~*~*


<\3 means?


what does def mean in texting mode?


@anon4165: IM2 probably means, "I am too."

@anon38978: HTML is used for webpages, maybe someone was trying to direct you to a website.

@anon55822: 2/2 or 2/3 could mean 2 out of 2 or 2nd of the 3rd in a series. it depends on how it's used.

@anon92314: :-P is a smiley face sticking its tongue out.


what does X9 mean? I just got this and it's so confusing.


what does this mean ^~^ in text messaging?


I think that text symbols come in handy when your in a hurry or just messing around but there are some times when you should just spell it out so they understand exactly what you're saying.


wbu? = what about you?

w8 = wait


ttyl=talk to you later

brb= Be right back

ur= your

r= are

u= you

pce= peace

w.e.= whatever


if you're texting and you want to kiss someone then you put :* the ":" is the eyes and the "*" is the lips.


@19: "pp" means people and "n" means no or know


What does "sjurt lal" mean when texting?


What does ^ mean when posted below a comment on Facebook?


What's *q


What does LOLFISH mean?

Drvin Pls CB- Driving please call back.


what does :/ mean in text messaging?


What does /n/ and /ni/ mean?


What is ({}) ?


What does m^m mean?


<3 is a heart. and <\3 is a broken heart.


what does </3 mean?


What does slow stand for?


What does :) mean?


Some of your comments are quite surprising. You realize that the longer a text message gets, the more likely it is to be split up into two or even three separate messages. Some people get charged for sending/receiving text messages, per message.

If a person does not have specific data packages from their cell phone provider, this can get quite costly, fast. I have seen companies charge as much as 25 or 30 cents per message. Therefore, the point of messaging in the first place is to be as short, concise, and to the point as possible.

People don't mean to confuse others with this lingo but it saves time and money for a lot of people to use abbreviations; and if you think about it, most of them are pretty easy to understand and make perfect sense in the context of the message. By the way, no one ever answered the person who asked what roflmao means: It's "Rolling on the floor laughing my bleeping Bleep off". See how much space (and money) was saved by typing it rotflmao?!

Signed- 30-something years old and electronically hip.


it is way easier to understand the abbreviations if you use common ones.


What is rotflmfao?


What does TCL mean?


what does this abbreviation mean ({})


angeltouch22 - dm is - don't matter




What is smhslt?


What do (><) texting symbols mean?


what's :-P


The main reason why people use the text slang, is simply because they are lazy. they cannot be bothered to write out later, or lots of love and even what are you up to? It's nothing more, nothing less. It's just laziness.


:X can also mean keeping your mouth closed or when you have said something you shouldn't have said.


aamof= as a matter of fact


well if you have a ) by ; it signifies a wink so it looks like this ;).


What does




"what" means Who has a turtle.

Just kidding.

What does AAMOF mean?


:X means kiss


What does "What" mean in text talk?


What is BIM?


smh means 'shaking my head'


does anyone know what PPN means? My teenage son uses it.


What does this symbol mean? :X


yes type the words. i saw people wrote their cover letters for jobs using these abbreviations. that just shows how lazy you are!


OMegaWolf747, You get a limited amount of characters to send a message and spelling out every word the full way will take up too much space and not to mention the waste of time of having to spell out longer words.


What does DDX mean?


What is 2/2 and 2/3?


what does smh mean?


this list is left out:

ROTFL - Rolling On The Floor Laughing

LMAO - Laughing My Ass Off

OMGsh (same as OMG)- Oh My Gosh

L8r - Later

WTF - What the f*

WTH - What the hell

there's more, but some of these abbreviations aren't even used nowadays.


it's long.


What does sss mean?


What is IM2?


What does HTML mean in texting?


DM- doesn't matter, and i don't understand why people don't just type normal words rather than confuse ohers by using silly little abbreviations.


What is dm?


Text talk is the bane of the orthographer. What is wrong with just typing out the words?

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    • BBS stands for "be back soon" in common text parlance.
      By: standret
      BBS stands for "be back soon" in common text parlance.
    • LOL is a common abbreviation in text messaging meaning laugh out loud.
      By: Antonioguillem
      LOL is a common abbreviation in text messaging meaning laugh out loud.
    • In text messaging, a smile can be written as :) or =).
      By: asife
      In text messaging, a smile can be written as :) or =).
    • Most text messaging abbreviations are acronyms.
      By: Brian Jackson
      Most text messaging abbreviations are acronyms.
    • "X" means "kiss" in text messaging.
      By: Antonioguillem
      "X" means "kiss" in text messaging.
    • Emoticons are often used in texting to convey emotion.
      By: virinaflora
      Emoticons are often used in texting to convey emotion.