Text abbreviations and acronyms every parent should know

By: Melissa Fischler Hed

Say what? Find out what your tweens and teens are really saying over text and social media with this list of common texting acronyms and slang every parent should know.

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Texting Acronyms | Text Abbreviations

Back when SMS messaging meant typing messages by repeatedly hitting the numeric keyboard with my thumb—before the QWERTY keyboard days—I learned to shorten my words by eliminating vowels. Then I replaced the correct spelling with shorthand. “See you later” became “cu l8r.” It wasn’t hard to figure out.

Chat rooms appeared, then instant messaging, live gaming, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Discord—the list goes on and on—and I discovered I wasn’t the only one taking text shortcuts. Early app iterations limited the number of characters users could type at one time. Twitter today, for example, caps tweets at 280 characters.

A lot of the time I had no idea what most younger people were typing. afk—was that a swear word? brb—did someone burp? (The answer to both of those questions is no.) Worse, just when I caught up on the newest lingo, meme culture stepped in, and teens and tweens added their own slang and layers of meaning to what were, by then, fairly common internet text acronyms.

Texting Conversation Between Child And Mom | Text Abbreviations

Just try to figure out this text from a 10-year-old to their mom, for example: “Ngl that song is so sus no cap smh.” Sus no cap? I had to ask my kids what it meant. The text translates to: “Not gonna lie, that song is so suspicious no lie shaking my head.” Yeah, so now I need a translation for the translation because I’m still not sure what any of that means, which I guess is not surprising.

Truth is, I’m never going to understand everything that millennials or Gen Zers are saying. Just as body language and facial expressions can alter spoken words, context is crucial for today’s teenage slang, and I need to remember that their references and touchstones are different from mine.

The good news is that many text abbreviations and text acronyms are now so common and universal that their meaning is not hard to figure out. And we can help you! Parents, bookmark this page, share it and use it as a reference, because here’s a list that you will absolutely want to come back to when you need it most.

Common (and mostly harmless) social media and texting abbreviations, slang and acronyms every parent should know in 2022

Note that all of these texts can be in either CAPS or lowercase letters, but teens and tweens now typically opt for lowercase UNLESS THEY’RE SHOUTING. Also, they’re usually in normal font, not bold.

Affection and romantic rejection

11:11 — make a wish

143 — I love you (derives from the number of letters used to spell each word)

bae — before anyone else (refers to a favorite person), also a shortened form of babe or baby

bff — best friends forever

curve (someone) — reject their romantic interest or advances in a subtle or kind way

fimh — forever in my heart

ghost — when someone disappears, stops calling, stops texting

ily — I love you

imu — I miss you

wywh — wish you were here



jk — just kidding

lol — laughing out loud

rofl — rolling on the floor laughing

lmao — laughing my a** off

tntl — trying not to laugh


Miscellaneous reactions

awks — awkward

aymm — are you my mother?

bet — sure, yes

bop — good song

cap — lie

cwot — complete waste of time

dead — I think this is hilarious

f — my condolences

facts — I agree

flex — show off

ftw — for the win

gmta — great minds think alike

hundo p — 100% agree

idc — I don’t care

ifyp — I feel your pain

low-key — modest, not showy (adjective)

mood — I feel the same way, relatable feeling

o7 — salute (emoticon, paying respect)

omdb — over my dead body

omg — oh my God!

qq or q_q — crying (emoticon)

slaps — excellent

smh — shaking my head (meaning, that’s so dumb)

srsly — seriously

ssdd — same stuff, different day

sus — suspicious / suspect / questionable / dishonest


Opinions, warnings and disclaimers

afaik — as far as I know

diy — do it yourself

dm — direct message

fwiw — for what it’s worth

fyi — for your information

icymi — in case you missed it

idk — I don’t know

ifykyk — if you know you know

imho — in my humble opinion

imo — in my opinion

jsyk — just so you know

nbd — no big deal

ngl — not gonna lie

nsfw — not suitable for work (signals nudity, violence or other potentially offensive material)

pov — point of view

rbtl — read between the lines

tbh — to be honest

tia — thanks in advance

tldr or tl;dr — too long (lazy) didn’t read

tw — trigger warning (indicates content that can possibly cause emotional harm)

ygtr — you got that right

ymmv — your mileage (experience) may vary

ynk — you never know


Warnings about parents being nearby

3o3 — mom

9 — parent around

99 — parent gone

aitr — adult in the room

cd9 — parents around (code 9)

kpc — keeping parents clueless

m/pos — mother/parent over shoulder

pa / pa911 — parent alert

pah — parent at home

pal — parents are listening

paw — parents are watching

pbb — parent behind back

pir — parent in the room


Notifications, wishes, greetings, closings

afk — away from keyboard

atm — at the moment

brb — be right back

g2g or gtg — got to go

gl — good luck

irl — in real life

l8 — late

lmk — let me know

omw — on my way

ruok — are you OK

spill the tea — tell me the gossip

ttyl — talk to you later

w8 — wait

wya — where you at?

wyd — what you doing?

yktv — you know the vibe


Signaling humor or sarcasm (followed by a situation, a gif or a meme)

hifw — how I feel when

mfw — my face when

mrw — my reaction when

tfw — that feeling when

til — today I learned


Ready to use these acronyms, abbreviations and slang words for texting?

Go for it! Your text messages to your kids may be cringe-worthy sometimes, but at least they’ll know you’re curious about what’s important to them and that you’ve made an effort to learn. Most of all, remember that when you’re staring at your own screen it can be hard to figure out what your kids are really saying—so do check-ins and keep talking to each other, because although texting is entertaining, spending time with your kids irl is more fun.

Smart Family helps you set your kids’ data limits and make sure they’re texting and chatting with the contacts you’ve approved. Try Premium on us for 30 days.

About the author:

Melissa Fischler Hed is the managing digital editor at Your Teen Media. To see photos of her dogs, chickens and four-leaf clovers, hop on over to Instagram and Facebook. For occasional updates on her writing life, check out her website at melissahed.com.


The author has been compensated by Verizon for this article.

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