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What does KYS mean?
KYS is an internet acronym standing for “kill yourself,” used as a taunt or form of harassment issued after someone has done something considered embarrassing or pathetic.
Warning: This article deals with the sensitive topic of suicide and an internet culture that, unfortunately, makes light of it. If you (or anyone you know) are thinking about attempting suicide, please call the toll-free, 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Where does KYS come from?
While its exact origins are unclear, the acronym KYS emerges in internet slang in the early 2000s, seen on Urban Dictionary by 2003. Over the 2000s, KYS became a popular insult on internet message-boards and video-game forums, meant to convey the hyperbolic sentiment of “You just did something so humiliating you might as well just go kill yourself rather than live with the shame.”
KYS spread to other social media in the 2010s, where the acronym began to be used more maliciously to mock people considered objectionable in some way. Around this time, a meme emerged featuring a dapper mid-20th-century businessman with one hand held in a “stop talking” gesture alongside the sentence Kill yourself. By 2015, the meme saw some use as a reaction image to a post from someone upset about a personal matter, especially romance and relationships.
Know Your Meme
According to Google Trends, lookups for KYS spiked in fall 2016, corresponding to an increasing call by gamers and other internet users for people to stop using KYS over cyberbullying and suicide concerns.
Examples of KYS
Who uses KYS?
KYS is used across social media, especially by young adult males, sometimes in the phrase go kys. In social forums like Reddit, KYS is often posted as a humorous rebuke to an ignorant comment. In online video-game chat services like Steam, the acronym is issued after a player makes a blunder. On other social media like Facebook and Twitter as well as young-adult text-messaging, KYS is sometimes used to taunt and bully people.
Since it makes light of suicide and can be considered a form of cyberbullying, KYS is widely considered very offensive and a potentially harmful term. Some forums flag or ban commenters for using KYS. Younger internet users are increasingly policing their peers about use of KYS online
This is not meant to be a formal definition of KYS like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of KYS that will help our users expand their word mastery.