Slang dictionary

what the actual fuck

or what in the actual fuck or WTAF [wuh t (in) th uh ak-choo-uh l fuhk] or [duhb-uh l-yoo-tee-ey-ef]

What does what the actual fuck mean?

Some things are so puzzling, infuriating, unbelievable, or spectacular that a simple What? or What the fuck? just won’t cut it.

For those times when you need to express your utter and complete inability to understand what’s going on, try what the actual fuck.

Related words

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, I can’t even, 😲 Astonished Face emoji, zero fucks, d'fuq

Where does what the actual fuck come from?

WTF The Mortal Instruments?!

What the fuck is a playful, versatile phrase that’s been in the English language since at least the 1970s, but it’s unclear who first said or wrote what the actual fuck. The “actual” in what the fuck acts as an intensifier and suggests something too crazy to be true or real (actual), signaling it’s no run-of-the- mill what the fuck moment.

WTF The Mortal Instruments?!

Redditors have speculated that what the actual fuck was first said in the background on the Canadian stoner comedy Trailer Park Boys. 2002 episode of the show does feature the line What the ah fuck! which viewers may have interpreted as what the actual fuck.

Its abbreviated form and internet mainstay, WTAF, joined Urban Dictionary in 2004, and its full form, what the actual fuck, four years later in 2008.

WTAF first graced the hallowed halls of Facebook in 2006 and what the actual fuck showed up to the Twitter party in 2008, with use skyrocketing in 2009.


What the actual fuck really took off, though, in the 2010s. BuzzFeed published a listicle of what the actual fuck-worthy social-media posts in 2014, the same year the phrase was highlighted as a way to “sound internet” by Sabotage TimesThe Daily Show has been running their weekly fact-checking segment “What the Actual Fact?” since 2015, and in 2016, HuffPost ran an article simply titled “Donald Trump: What the Actual F*ck?”

Examples of what the actual fuck

What the actual fuck is Big Dick Energy?
Rhian Daly, NME, June, 2018
"a feisty raccoon has bitten off a pervert's penis when he tried to rape the animal" WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?
@shezzalicious, March, 2010

Who uses what the actual fuck?

What the actual fuck is a popular reaction to plot twists in TV shows, especially in tweets about Lost, Westworldor Game of Thrones.

It’s also widely used, both in speech and on social media, to express disbelief and anger over current affairs, political events, or when someone has said something incredibly offensive

What the actual fuck, and its cousin WTAF, are popular social-media tags for all manner of surprises, shocks, outrages, and overall weirdness, including whatever the actual fuck this is:


A post shared by Mick Strider (@mickstrider) on

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of what the actual fuck like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of what the actual fuck that will help our users expand their word mastery.