Where does yw come from?
As with many internet acronyms, the exact origin of yw isn't clear, but it appears to originate online in the 1990s and early 2000s. It is normally used as a quick, convenient, and friendly way to say you're welcome in text messages and chats, typically in response to an equally short and causal ty, or thank you.
In the late 2000s, some new, if relatively uncommon, senses of yw emerged. By 2009, yw was recorded for yeah, whatever. This is an expression someone might use in a sarcastic, passive-aggressive-seeming manner, saying one thing but meaning another. It's meant to show annoyance and anger without actually explaining the real issue (e.g., yw . . . I'm glad everything's fine for you).
By 2010, yw appeared as an abbreviation for you whitey. This is a slur making fun of a white person who did something foolish (tripping over a curb), something offensive (a racist remark), or something viewed as stereotypically white (fancy Starbucks drinks). It can be used either in hostility or jest.
Who uses yw?
The acronym yw is widely used in a range of informal digital communication, from text messages to Facebook Messenger to emails and blogs to online forms and social media. Emoji hearts and smiley faces are often used for emphasis after yw, especially from younger users. Unlike other internet acronyms such as lol and omg, yw is infrequently heard in casual speech.
Its abbreviations for yeah, whatever and you whitey are only occasionally used, with the former used at risk of being rude and the latter racially offensive.
It is not to be confused with the abbreviation YW, which is short for the nonprofit organization Young Women (of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints).
@kenburbary, December, 2008
ty... and yw
@BenResistsTrump, December, 2010
anytime 😄 anywhere! 😄 ❤️ 👼 yw sweetie! Ox smilemore 😄
@peva13, December, 2015