When it comes to internet acronyms, IYKYK (if you know, you know), but if you don’t, well, things can get pretty confusing. Made popular by fast-paced digital communication, these acronyms are here to stay (and the lexicon is constantly growing). We might remember with fondness the simple days of LOL and BRB, but we’ve moved on to more elaborate initialisms such as “ELI5” and “PEBKAC.” So, DYK (do you know) some of the most popular acronyms of today? If not, DW (don’t worry) — you soon will.
“Your mileage may vary.” This is a clever way to say that the results, opinions, or experiences are different for everyone. The original phrase dates back to the 1970s and ’80s when auto manufacturers would promote their estimated mileage. Ads would state, “Your mileage may vary.” Today, the acronym can be seen on online reviews and chat forums. For example, “The battery life on my wireless headphones lasts through the work day, but YMMV.”
For when you have no idea what’s going on: “ELI5,” or, “explain like I’m 5.” Literally, explain this to me as if I am a child. Aside from inserting some humor into what might be a frustrating situation, it’s a request for a simple explanation instead of a lengthy, complicated one. Like so many popular acronyms of today, ELI5 was born on Reddit (r/explainlikeimfive).
The office IT support will be able to tell you that this one means, “problem exists between keyboard and chair,” meaning, the problem is the user. This is also a good way to poke fun at yourself after misreading an email or having a slow start to your Monday. (Another variation of this is “PIBKAC,” or “problem is between keyboard and chair”).
As a favorite among journalists and social media gossip accounts, “ICYMI” means “in case you missed it.” This initialism is usually used with a sense of enthusiasm, as in, “ICYMI — The Biggest Wins on the Red Carpet.”
“If I recall correctly” — This handy abbreviation has been recorded online since at least the early 1990s but is making a resurgence thanks to Reddit and other online forums. (A variation of this is “if I remember correctly”).
This is a useful one if aiming to maintain friendships. “IMHO” means “in my humble opinion.” The related, and slightly better known, “IMO” stands for “in my opinion,” but that one might come off a little brash at times. It can also help determine facts from opinions in chat situations. (“In my honest opinion” is another variation of this).
“As far as I know,” the budget meeting is still tomorrow. “AFAIK” is useful office lingo, but don’t mix it up with “AFAIC.” While equally useful, “as far as I’m concerned” has a much different context.
Here’s the rare instance where punctuation is inserted into the internet abbreviation for the message that reads, “Too long; didn’t read.” This handy acronym can be used as an interjection or at the end of a very length message or article, just before a summary. For example, “TL;DR — We will be moving our weekly meetings to Tuesday.” In this usage, it’s easy for readers to skim down to a summary, but it’s also been adopted as a snarky response to an overly long explanation.
“Fixed that for you.” This one can come off as genuine or rude, depending on its context. For example, if a friend tells the group chat, “The Beatles are the best band,” and you reply, “The Eagles. FTFY,” it’s generally understood that it’s good-natured teasing. This can also be used more literally when giving a coworker something that you revised, for example. Tread lightly with this acronym — it can sometimes be seen as aggressive, especially when correcting someone’s work.
TFW it’s Friday! “That feeling when” is also related to “MFW,” or “my face when.” It’s a snappy and easily relatable intro for situations ranging from pre-vacation excitement to the dog chewing up a new pair of shoes. Typically, the acronym will be accompanied by an image, GIF, or emoji.
Featured image credit: Spiderstock/ iStock