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ctfu

What does ctfu mean?

Sometimes written in all capital letters, ctfu is a slang initialism most commonly standing for “crack(ing) the fuck up,” used to express laughter and mark tone in digital communication. Among other variations, the abbreviation can also mean “cheer the fuck up,” chiding individuals perceived as unduly dejected.

Where does ctfu come from?

Ctfu emerged in the 2000s as internet and text-messaging slang to convey extreme amusement. Urban Dictionary first entered it in 2005 while it debuted on Twitter in 2008. According to a 2014 linguistic study, ctfu was most active in Cleveland, Ohio in 2009 before spreading, especially, to Mid-Atlantic states.

While its form resembles another initialism, stfu, or “shut the fuck up,” ctfu’s sense echoes the likes of lmao (“laughing my ass off”), rofl (“rolling on the floor laughing”), and the face with tears of joy emoji. As with many other items of digital slang, ctfu isn’t always meant literally, as it can communicate a light, humorous, or appreciative tone in a message.

While less common, the c in ctfu does represent other words, and thus sentiments, including the flippant reprimand of cheer the fuck up. Other variations are more idiosyncratic, like cowboy the fuck up (“‘man up”) or carb the fuck up (used to motivate vigorous exercise).

A few things to note…

Used informally, ctfu is a playful way for its users to show they find something or someone very funny or ridiculous in a variety of digital contexts. While the abbreviation lessens its force, some people may find ctfu’s f, fuck, offensive.

For example…

“This made me CTFU so loudly that my roommates upstairs scolded me by stomping on the floor over my head.”

rilo-neko-smith, The Girl Who Blocked Her Own Shot (January 7, 2016)

“She cracks jokes in text to the guy about 'the bitch thinks I can't be trusted now. CTFU! She don't even kno! Stoopid mf!'”

Mastered_struggling Reddit (January 1, 2014)

“Dying laughing @ hubby's ocd tendencies. i have just been BANNED from from matching socks!!! LMAO. I could see his skin crawl CTFU”

Patrice @PatriceJ715 Twitter (July 28, 2008)

This is not a formal definition of ctfu like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of ctfu that will help you expand your word mastery.