Acronym-like Abbreviations  

When writing email or news messages or talking in chat rooms people often develop a collection of abbreviations that they use for common colloquial phrases.

These abbreviations are usually a set of initial letters strung together with no particular attention given to whether the resulting string of letters works as a pronouncible "word". For this reason they should not be called "acronyms" although that distinction is lost to most people.

I often find it difficult to understand something someone is saying, not because of their grammar or spelling, or because they are using obscure or archaic words or technical jargon, but because they throw in one of these abbreviations. So, as a service to the global community (for which I will no doubt be remembered for centuries to come) I present this list of most such abbreviations that I have encountered over the course of the last 15 years.

Feel free to let me know about any others you see, and I'll look into adding them. For an abbreviation to qualify it has to:

The italic tags given for some entries indicate the community in which I first encountered the usage. Many of these might still be in limited usage, others have broadened. Unfortunately, I have little or no usage history information for most of the abbreviations.

AA Adios Amigo(s) (bix, ≤ 1988)

AAA Any Assistance Appreciated (bix, ≤ 1988)

AAMOF As A Matter Of Fact (bix, ≤ 1988)

AAR At Any Rate

ACTO ACcording TO (bix, ≤ 1988)

AFAICT As Far As I Can Tell

AFAIK As Far As I Know (bix, ≤ 1988)

AFK Away From Keyboard AOL

BAK Back At Keys AOL

BBL Be Back Later

BCNU "be seeing you" (B="be", CN="seein'", U="you")

BFD Big F***ing Deal

BFF Best Friends Forever

BRB Be Right Back

BTA Be There. Aloha!

BTOBS Be There Or Be Square

BTSOOM Beats The S*** Out Of Me!

BTW By The Way

BUAG Big Ugly Ascii Graphic

CAGR Compound Annual Growth Rate

CID Consider It Done

CIO Check It Out

CUL "see you later" (C="see", U="you", Later)

CUL8R "see you later" (C="see", U="you", L+(8="ate")+R)

DH Dear Husband

DHYB Don't Hold Your Breath

DNTTAH Do Not Try This At Home

DSDT Differentiated System Description Table

DTRT Do The Right Thing

DW Dear Wife

DWIM Do What I Mean (bix, ≤ 1988)

EMFH Every Man For Himself

FAQ Frequently Asked Question (ARPAnet, ca. 1982)

FGITW Fastest Gun In The West $(StackOverflow, 2009)*

FKA Formerly Known As

FLW Famous Last Words

FMI For More Information

FOAF Friend Of A Friend

FUD Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

FWIW For What It's Worth

FYA For Your Amusement

GG Good Game gaming

GL Good Luck gaming

GMTA Great Minds Think Alike

GOoMHR Get Out of My Head, Randall! xkcd fans

GRD Grinning, Running and Ducking!

GTFO Get The F*** Out (≤ 2010)

GTG Got To Go

HH Happy Hacking

HTH 1. Hope This Helps 2. Hope That Helps

IAE In Any Event (bix, ≤ 1988)

IANAL I Am Not A Lawyer (bix, ≤ 1988)

ICCL I Could(n't) Care Less

IFO In Front Of (used in text-messages by WiFi and cellphone users to give their position, e.g. "I'm IFO library")

IFU I F***ed Up

IHTFP I Hate This F*** Place MIT

IIRC If I Recall Correctly

IME In My Experience (bix, ≤ 1988)

IMHO In My Humble Opinion

IMAO In My Arrogant Opinion (bix, ≤ 1988)

IMCO 1. In My Considered Opinion 2. In My Conceited Opinion

IMNSHO In My Not So Humble Opinion

IMO In My Opinion

IOW In Other Words

IRL In Real Life

ISNUP It Serves No Useful Purpose

ISO In Search Of

ISTM It Seems To Me

ITIWO In The Immortal Words Of

ITYS I Told You So

IYSWIM If You See What I Mean

JASM Just A Simple-Minded (bix, ≤ 1988)

JJ Just Joking (bix, ≤ 1988)

JK Just Kidding

JPF Just Plain Fun (bix, ≤ 1988)

KIT Keep In Touch

L8R "later" (l, 8="ate", r)

LFLIATWP Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

LGTM Looks Good To Me

LLC 1. Limited Liability Company 2. Last Level Cache 3. Load Line Calibration

LMAO Laughing My A** Off irc

LMK Let Me Know

LOL Laughing Out Loud

LTA Less Than Average (bix, ≤ 1988)

LTNS Long Time No See

MBG Money-Back Guarantee

MHOTY My Hat's Off To You

MIB Mint In Box (short for "in mint condition, still in original box")

MKA Mundanely Known As SCA

MLIA My Life Is Average (2009)

MtFBWY May the Force Be With You

NBIF No Basis In Fact

NFR Not For Resale

NFS 1. Not For Sale 2. No F***ing Sh**

NFW No F***ing Way

NR Nice Roll FRP gaming

NRN No Reply Necessary

NSFW Not Safe For Work (tag on subject line means "this email is X-rated")

NVM NeVer Mind

OBO Or Best Offer

OBTW Oh By The Way

OIC "oh I see" (O="oh", I, C="see") (bix, ≤ 1988)

OMG Oh My God

OOTB 1. Out Of The Blue 2. Out Of The Box

OOTO Out Of The Office

OTA Out The Airlock bix, NASA

OTC Over The Counter

OTL Out To Lunch

OTOH On The Other Hand

OTOT On The Other Tentacle (bix, ≤ 1988)

PCT Politically Correct Thought

PD Public Domain nearing general acceptance

PEBCAK Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard

PEBUAK Problem Exists Between User And Keyboard

PITA Pain In The A**

PITN Pain In The Neck

POV Point Of View

RAEBNC Read And Enjoyed But No Comment GAPS

RFC Request For Comments

RFSN Real F***ing Soon Now

RML Read My Lips

ROFL Rolling On Floor Laughing (bix, ≤ 1988)

ROTF Rolling On The Floor (bix, ≤ 1988)

ROTM Right On The Money (bix, ≤ 1988)

RSN Real Soon Now

RT Round Table GEnie

RTFM Read The F***ing Manual (≤ 1979)

RTM Read The Manual

SDB Sucks Dead Bunnies (bix, ≤ 1988)

SFW 1. Safe For Work 2. So F***ing What?

SITD Still In The Dark

SOL S**t Out of Luck

SMH Shaking My Head

SMO Simple Matter Of (bix, ≤ 1988)

SMOP Simple Matter Of Programming (bix, ≤ 1988)

SOL S*** Out of Luck

SSDD Same S***, Different Day

SWAG 1. Stupid Wild-A**ed Guess (bix, ≤ 1988) 2. Scientific Wild-A**ed Guess

SYOTB See You On The Bitstream (bix, ≤ 1988)

TANSTAAFL There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

TBD To Be Determined nearing general acceptance

TBKA To Be Known As

TEOTWAWKI The End Of The World As We Know It

TFAE The Following Are Equivalent mathematicians

TFIC Tongue Firmly In Cheek

TGU The Great Unwashed

TIA Thanks In Advance

TIC Tongue In Cheek

TIL Today I Learned

TINAR This Is Not A Review (bix, ≤ 1988)

TINSTAAFL There Is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch

TLDR 1. Top-Level Domain Registry 2. "tl;dr" Too Long, Didn't Read (≤ 2003)

TMTOWTDI There's More Than One Way To Do It perl

TNX "thanks" (ThaNX)

TPTB The Powers That Be (bix, ≤ 1988)

TTBOMK To The Best Of My Knowledge

TTFN Ta-Ta For Now (bix, ≤ 1988)

TTYL Talk To You Later

TTYS Talk To You Soon irc

TYVM Thank You Very Much

UFB Un-F***ing-Believable

VI Village Idiot

VNR Very Nice Roll FRP gaming

WAG Wild-A**ed Guess

WAH Working At Home

WEG Wicked Evil Grin

WHWITW Would Have Wanted It That Way (bix, ≤ 1988)

WIP Work In Progress

WLOG Same as WoLOG (among mathematicians)

WoLOG Without Loss Of Generality

WRT With Respect To

WTF What The F***

WTFN Why The F*** Not? (with humorous, not angry, intent)

WTG Way To Go!

YA Yet Another

YAFI You Asked For It

YFEM Your Favorite Ethnic Minority

YMMV Your Mileage May Vary

YOLO You Only Live Once


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This page was last updated on 2014 Nov 21. s.11