Top 10 Acronyms That Will Make Your Life Easier

To a noob (that's internet-speak for a newbie), social media can look like alphabet soup. While you've probably picked up on the staples like LOL and OMG, there are hundreds of acronyms out there, some of which are way less obvious and way more useful.

Fun fact: The term abbreviation is an umbrella term—so basically all these little shortened text-speak words we’re using now are abbreviations because they are essentially just shortened versions of a word or phrase. Rly is a great example … they just took out the vowels—who needs ‘em. And, acronyms are types of abbreviations. Acronyms are usually in the form of initialisms—which is when a phrase is represented by the first letter of each word that makes it up.

Regardless of the technical differences between abbreviations and acronyms ... it's hard not to get lost in the letters—but, we've got you covered. Here are 10 acronyms every internet denizen should know.

TL;DR

Tl;dr stands for "too long; didn't read."

Originally, tl;dr was an insult, used in reaction to some post, comment, or content seen as wordy or longwinded—as if literally saying “This is way too long, so I didn’t read it.” By 2005, tl;dr had taken on a second meaning as a shorthand for a “summary,” frequently called the tl;dr version of a longer account or article. Related, but used more in the professional editing world is ONW.

Tl;dr can give a genuine summary of a much longer piece—the gist, the big takeaway, the moral of the story. Tl;dr can also issue a snarky take on a longer, more complex topic, as if boiling it down to its essence.

Either way, it's pretty helpful for those longwinded texts you get from your friend or those social-media comments you just can't sift through without rolling your eyes ...

H/T

Back in the olden days (think the 19th and 20th centuries), men always wore hats. And, the way that they expressed their respect for someone was with a hat tip, tipping their hat brim a little bit to someone.

No one wears hats on social media, but we still want to be respectful of each other. That's where the acronym H/T (also sometimes used without the diagonal slash) comes in. It means hat tip, or tip of the hat—a way of recognizing the original source of a meme, expression, image, or idea on social media.

It can also be used generally to express gratitude or appreciation for someone. As in, "h/t mom for getting me this sweet car."

LBS

LBS may be the abbreviation for pounds (you're probably used to seeing it in lowercase—lbs) ... but it's also a super helpful way to convey some emotion via text and social-media.

That's because LBS also means "laughing but serious." It's a great acronym to throw in after a text or social-media post to show everyone that you definitely don't take yourself too seriously ... however, what you're writing or posting about is a concern. Sarcasm is tricky business in the digital world.

IMHO

IMHO is an acronym used mostly in texting, email, and social media that means "in my humble opinion." It was first used in the 1980s in online forums, and decades later, some began erroneously attributing the H to the word honest.

These days, IMHO is basically always taken to mean "in my honest opinion." It's a good way of underlining that you're taking a strong stance on something, whether it's classic film or politics.

WOC

WOC stands for "women of color." It's a good acronym to know because you'll probably see it pop up in articles and social-media feeds a lot these days.

As more women and WOCs stand up against abuses, we're loving this acronym to get the point across quickly and under an umbrella of unity and support.

DWS

You may know DWS as the acronym for "driving while suspended." Uh oh.

But, there's a more fun, more useful meaning too: "dealing with sh!t." Especially in this climate, this one is more useful than ever.

MUA

If you're looking for tips on how to get your winged eyeliner *just right* or advice on the best foundation for your skin type, you might want to check out some MUAs on social media. MUA is an acronym found mostly on social media that means makeup artist.

MUAs are huge on platforms like Instagram and YouTube, where they post videos and pictures of their techniques, their looks, and all the famous celebs they pal around with.

SWAG

You may have not known it, but swag is an acronym! It stands for "stuff we all get," and it usually refers to free promotional or marketing items.

This may not be one that makes your life easier, necessarily, but it definitely will wow your friends and family when you whip out this fun fact at your next get together.

WYD and WTP

Wyd is a texting and internet acronym that stands for "What (are) you doing?" or "What (would) you do?". Wyd can be a literal question meant to find out what another person is actually up to. It can also be texted as an informal greeting like What’s upWyd, like the phrase it abbreviates, also acts as a rhetorical question used to challenge or question someone’s lifestyle or choices. For instance, one might ask: “If you don’t support your best friend when she’s sad then wyd?”

WTP is similar ... but a little more on the nose. Meaning "what's the plan," or "what's the play," it's an easy way to get someone to confirm what's going on for the evening or weekend without having to type out more than one word. Win!

HMU

HMU is an abbreviation for the phrase “hit me up.” It’s often posted online to announce that you’re looking for something to do and to encourage others to reach out to you. In a one-on-one exchange, it’s an invitation for continued contact, meaning “text me,” or “call me,” or simply “let’s talk again.”

HMU can also stand for “hook me up,” which is typically a request to be connected with someone or something in which you have interest.

In 2011, the phrase gained more notice when a teenage boy used it on a giant cardboard sign to ask out his prom date. When the principal of his school banned the boy from prom (because the sign was hung over the front of the school), the news story prompted many publications to define HMU for their readers. Google searches for HMU peaked in July 2011, most likely in connection with this story.

Bonus acronym: FWB!

This one may not make your life easier ... but maybe a little bit more fun? Most of us just have friends. But some daring (or delusional) folks have an FWB—a friend "with benefits." A friend with benefits is a friend someone occasionally has casual sex with.

The term friends with benefits emerged in the 1990s, popularized by the 1995 Alanis Morrissette song “Head over Feet,” which, while ostensibly about a committed relationship, features the lyrics: “You're my best friend / Best friend with benefits.”

The acronym FWB was first entered on Urban Dictionary in 2003, only a few months after the first entry for friends with benefits appeared on the site. FWB first appeared on Twitter in April 2007, just a year after the social-media platform went live.

FWB can be used to describe a person or a relationship. You can say “He is my fwb,” “She and I were fwb a while back,” or “I heard they just have a fwb thing going on.” The plural of FWB can either be FWB (friends with benefits), or, treating the acronym like its own word, FWBs. While the abbreviated FWB is common in digital communication, friends with benefits is used in casual speech.

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