Initialisms and Home-isms: A Glossary

by Terra_Cide, HSM copy editor

For those of you who didn’t see the post over at Engadget last month, the Oxford English Dictionary – the granddaddy of all that is English-language based – has decided to add well-known initialisms OMG, LOL and FYI, as well as IMHO and BFF onto their hallowed pages. They have also added ♥ – not the <3 emoticon, but the actual graphics – as well.

Hide your wife and hide your kids, folks. The apocalypse is nigh.

About this same time, Norse, our intrepid Editor-In-Chief, and I had a conversation on the phone. This happened to take place before I made my weekly pilgrimage over to Engadget to get my geek-fix.

“You know what would be a great idea for an article?” He enthused. “A compilation of all the initialisms and phrases of text-speak that are common to Home, so that the average, literate person who goes online there has a vague idea as to what’s being said. I was going to do it, but you know what, I think you’d be great at it!”

And then he scampered off to go do whatever it is Norsemen in Hawaii do.

Thanks, Norse, and to quote some Stealers Wheel with regards to my opinion on the matter, “Clowns to the left of me/Jokers to the right/ Here I am/ Stuck in the middle with you.”

Now then, since I’ve been tasked to compile all these oh-so-wonderful initialisms, phrases, abbreviations, and general Home-isms, we’re going to do this right. No sense in providing you, the intelligent HomeStation Magazine reader, a half-baked reference guide to decipher all the things you see the average knuckle-dragger in Central Plaza type on a daily basis. No sir, this is going to be some serious business here.

So! Without any further pomp and prelude, I give you HSM’s Official Home Guide to Initialisms, Phrases, and Other Things That Need Translation™.

Disclaimer: The author and the staff of HSM are not responsible if your feelings get butt-hurt in the event of reading this article. Intended for entertainment purposes only.

And for you, that smug one who will no doubt respond in the comments that one was missed: we’re well aware of the chance of that happening. You try compiling all of these bloody things by yourself.

If you cannot comprehend this, or lack the capacity to grow a sense of humor, please, turn off the computer and step away from the Internet. For good. Thank you, and this concludes our Public Safety Announcement. Normal service shall now resume.

AFK – A part of the “BRB” family, it simply explains that the person is, will be, or has been “Away From Keyboard.” I am personally ashamed to admit that this one took me a few viewings to actually get. And I’d rather gouge my eyes out with a plastic spork than ask what an internet initialism means. I have more important things to do with my time. Like cataloging aforementioned initialisms. Right…moving on…

ATM – Stands for “At The Moment” and is pretty straightforward. It’s present tense and used when describing something “in the now.” Don’t ask it for money, though; it’s not that kind of ATM.

BBL – Used for when you’re going to be away much longer than a moment or two, “Be Back Later” is what most people say when they’re going to go game, or go offline and do something else, but will return at a later time that day. (I bet there were a few of you who thought it meant something dirty, didn’t you? Suckers.)

BFF – Popularized by the vapid Paris Hilton set, “Best Friends Forever” is what one uses to describe the person closest to them that isn’t thought of in a romantic manner. Depending on the vapidness of the individual, this title may be bestowed upon a different person on a daily (or even hourly) basis. So much for the “forever” part.

BRB – Now, normally, this stands for “Be Right Back,” commonly used whenever someone needs to get up, grab a snack or drink, respond to a telephone/nature call, or what have you. But what I’ve discovered is that what initially starts out as a simple get up and go get /do something task ends up being a series of diversions and detours worthy of Billy from The Family Circus. You get up to go grab the drink, but before you do, you decide to take that bathroom break so you don’t have to get up later, then the phone rings or the dog wants out, then you get that drink and you figure that well, hey, since you’re up already, might as well grab a snack while you’re at it. You do eventually get back, just not “right back.”

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include this homage to one of the Editor’s favorite picture memes.

Facepalm, or *facepalm* – As you all should know by now, our Home avatars have pre-programmed gestures you can access. From “bow” to “over here!” you can express your emotions through the actions you choose to input through your avatar. The emotion that they forgot to program an expression for is disgust. This is where the typing of “facepalm” comes in. Until Sony corrects this egregious error, you will find “facepalm” habitually typed above my avatar.

FFS – Usually typed in a moment of irritation and/or exasperation, and sometimes preceded with “Oh,” this initialism goes well with a facepalm. There is no real clean alternative to the original initialism, so I’ll just come out with it. It stands for “For F—- Sake.”

FYI – The usage of this initialism predates the Internet itself by a good decade at least, and now has become so common that your parents probably know what it means. Do I really need to spell it out? It is what the whole subject of this article is about – for your information. Oops, see, I did it anyway.

Epic – Grandiose, on a large scale. Whether it’s a win or a fail, you can bet it’s a big one when it’s preceded with this word.

FML – The antonym of “FTW” (see below), this initialism stands for “F— My Life” or, if you object to vulgarity in your initialisms you can make it mean “For My Loss.” Often seen used by people who are bemoaning something about their life. See also: “Suck it up.”

FTW, FTMFW – Random bit of trivia about me: I’ve always wanted a license plate that reads “FTW WTF” or “WTF FTW.” I think it’d be quite cool, don’t you? FTW simply stands for “For The Win” and FTMFW is just the same thing, but with an expletive for added emphasis.

Got pics? Got cam? Got mic? – The Holy Trinity of Questions Asked That Should Never Be Asked. The inquisitor is usually new to Home, and/or lacks a rudimentary personality. Either way, making these inquiries of someone you’ve only been talking to for less than five minutes – even in the compressed time-feel of Home – is like asking to see someone you just met in real life if you could see their underwear. Whatever gristly punishment you get meted out to you after asking one of these questions will be well-deserved.

GTFO – Stands for “Get The F— Out” and used to express indignation towards stupidity, incompetence, or both. Or even to express rejection of something that is just unwelcome.

Hella – Nothing screams “I’m a douchebag!” more than using this term, which I’m lead to believe means “very” or “lots of.” A derivative of “hell of a lot.” I could put a South Park reference in here, but I can’t be bothered.

IDK – When you don’t know the answer to a question, this initialism, which stands for “I Don’t Know” will come in handy. Or if you just get sick and tired of answering questions, you can use it then, too. Don’t worry, we won’t tell.

IMO, IMHO – When people don’t want their words misconstrued as “the truth” but merely the opinion it is, they’ll tack on “In My (Humble) Opinion” either before or after their statements. It’s been my experience, however, that the ones who add in the word “humble” rarely are.

IKR – Initialism for the valley girl phrase, “I Know, Right?” popularized by Lindsay Lohan in the movie Mean Girls. Do you feel a bit dirty for using an initialism made well-known by a drug addict? I hope you do.

LOL – Originally intending to mean “Laugh Out Loud,” this long-standing member of the Internet lexicon now merely stands for “I have nothing witty and/or intelligent to contribute to further this conversation along. However, if I say nothing, you’ll probably get offended, so I’ll do the bare minimum to stroke your ego and let you know I was paying attention.”  Some of the more Internet-savvy Home denizens who like show off said savvy-ness (whether it be real or self-proclaimed) will substitute this with ”lulz.”

LOL-Speak – Popularized by the now famous “I Can Haz Cheezburger” network of websites, it’s what happens when you let the “Hooked on Phonics” Generation go to the extreme. Often a typing method one uses to sound cute but is only truly effective if there are kittens present.

LMAO – The user of this acronym – which stands for “Laughing My A** Off” – usually is, in fact, laughing at the comment made or scene witnessed, unlike the use of LOL.

NE1, Some1 – A piece of text-speak so annoying, it deserves its own entry. Simply put, it’s a lame way of saying “anyone” or “someone.”

No – Ranking right up there with your/you’re and there/their/they’re in the list of  Most Annoying but Common Misspellings, chances are the typist is really trying to say “know.” Yes, you may *facepalm* now.

N00b, Newb, Nub – Corrupted forms of the word “newbie.” No matter which way you spell it, it all means the same thing. The person who is the object of this word is new to the environment they are in, or at the very least acts the part.

OMG, OMFG – “Oh My God” or “Oh My F-ing God” Pretty much the default reply when one reads or witnesses something that is beyond the normal realms of stupidity, or they just can’t quite wrap their head around something. Which in Home, can be quite often.

OMGWTFBBQ – Pure parody of all acronyms and initialisms. Used often when mocking people who use initialisms or text-speak too much. I like this one quite a lot, for obvious reasons.

Orly, O Rly, Rly – Shortened from the phrase, “Oh, really” and usually used in a sarcastic manner, this phrase has its beginnings in the early online gaming community. Example:

All your base belongs to us. 

Plz Kthx – A truncated version of “please, okay, thanks” which is sometimes even further shortened down to “kthx.”

Pwn, Pwnd, Pwned – A corrupted form of “owned” where the author accidentally types a “p” where the “o” should be, this elder statesman of the Internet lexicon dates back to the earliest days of online gaming, LAN parties and such (“I PWND J00, F00!!” as an example of early internet-isms). I personally have been known to actually utter this one out loud in a non-sequitur fashion. Try it some time – it’s quite fun!

ROFL – “Rolling On the Floor Laughing” This is typically used with the same intention as LMAO but is reserved for those moments when events have become so funny, that the act of typing has been reduced to “jkahgdlf” as a result, and lets all parties know that normal service will resume, after you’ve regained your faculties.

Shawty – A little sleuthing on Urban Dictionary tells me that this, erm, “word” has its origins in Atlanta, GA. Regardless of where it comes from, nothing makes me want to head-butt somebody in the chest more than being called this. I don’t care if you think it’s a compliment. I don’t care if you approve of the appearance of my pixels. It sounds dumb. Stop saying it. (And at 5′ 8″ I’m hardly short, for a female.)

SMH – An initialism that is almost the equivalent of a facepalm, “Shake My Head” is often used in reaction to an observed act or a story told that makes you feel as if you lost a brain cell just for witnessing/hearing it. When someone uses “SMH” it is never a good thing.

STFU –  When used in conjunction with “GTFO” (mentioned above), you can practically create a whole sentence with just initials. I find that, for the most part, high emotion, low intelligent young males are constantly telling each other to “Shut The F— Up” for one reason or another. Must be a guy thing.

Teh – Originally a corruption of the word “the” where the typist, in an effort to be fast, switches the order of the “h” and the “e” around. Nowadays commonly seen in LOL-speak as a deliberate way of typing cute.

Text-Speak, or Txt Spk – More annoying than LOL-speak, this is an alpha-numeric, word shortening form of typing that is commonly used when you are limited for space, or typing from a phone. Examples of this would be “U2″ (“you too,” not the band; Bono would not approve) or using the number 4 instead of typing “for”. Somehow, this method of writing has also leaked into arenas, such as Home, where people actually do have access to a keyboard, but can’t be bothered to actually use it as intended. As a result, the user typically comes off as sounding like an idiot, whether or not they really are.

TMI – Someone going into just a little too much detail for your tastes? Use this initialism, which stands for “Too Much Information.” Because sometimes, knowledge isn’t power; it’s just disturbing.

TTYL – An initialism used in departing, meaning “Talk To You Later” where later can mean later that day, or tomorrow, or next week. May or may not be true.

U – For some reason that I haven’t quite yet discovered, people think that just because “I” is considered a word, “u” should be as well. It isn’t. Learn to spell. Thank you (notice: it’s “y-o-u”).

U Hott – Oh FFS (see what I did there?), do you really think that I’m going to be flattered that you’re getting turned on by my pixels? If you haven’t noticed, anyone can look like a supermodel on Home. Get over it, and start talking like a moderately intelligent human being if you hope to get a girl on your friend’s list.

Ur – No, this is not in reference to the ancient Sumerian city-state. The author of such utterance is not bright enough to know that in the first place. This is someone’s feeble attempt at shortening the already short word “your.” Or perhaps “you’re.” Or they didn’t know which spelling they needed in the context they were using it in and decided to use the coward’s way out. My brain hurts now. Bottom line, the person’s just plain lazy.

Wat – Again, sorry, but no, this does not refer to a temple in southeast Asia. Once more, the knowledge of such things involves having more IQ points than the author of such a comment appears to possess. Now, the Urban Dictionary describes this as, “the only proper response to something that makes absolutely no sense,” and while this may be true, it does not excuse the need to drop the “h” you smeg for brains, walking vegetable.

Wats Gud, Wats Gud Ma – Before I can begin to define this one, I must first control the homicidal urges that the mere sight of these two phrases on Home stir within me.

(Takes a few deep breaths)

Seriously, there few things online that actually inspire me to think about taking such extreme actions, like tracking them via their IP address and promising them bodily harm – pedophiles, for example – but those two phrases are right up there. There’s so much laziness contained in these two phrases I don’t even know where to begin.

Quite frankly, if you don’t respond to someone uttering such displays of willful illiteracy, I don’t blame you; it’s all gibberish anyway. As for what goes through my mind when some complete stranger calls me “ma” (must… control… fist… of death…), I will say this. Yes, I am a mother. No, my child has not called me “ma” and I doubt he ever will. I have not given birth to you, fed you or wiped your bottom, therefore you never – ever – have the right to call me “ma” and if I were your mother, I’d be embarrassed to know my offspring was that dumb. And if I was your mother and I caught you addressing others bearing a female resemblance in such a manner, you can be damned sure I’d slap that controller out of your hand and throw your wannabe ghetto self in summer school faster than you could even type “wats gud” ever again.

*Ahem* now then, to continue.

W00t, Wewt – Nice bit of trivia here: “Woot” originated from a truncated expression common among players of the Dungeons and Dragons tabletop role-playing game for “Wow, loot!” The Internet and video game cultures took off with it, and now is just a general term for excitement or great success. I’d embed Stephen Lynch’s song to “D&D” here, but it’s not very family friendly. You’re better off YouTubing it yourself. (I recommend the 4:21 version – the three-part harmony that starts at 3:26 is pretty awesome.)

Where U From? – Ladies, tell me if you had a nickel for every time someone on Home asked you this question, would you have a six-figure (or more) bank account by now, and own every single thing worth owning in Home? I know I would. It’s either this or the present “Where are you from?” and both get rewarded with “Central Plaza” as a reply. If that is, I feel like replying.

W/R/T/ – “With Regards To.” Not very popular as of yet, but is slowly rising in the public’s awareness. What, you expected something funny to be tacked on to this entry as well? I can’t make all of these things amusing, you know.

WTF – Have I mentioned my obsession with obtaining an “FTW WTF” or “WTF FTW” license plate yet? What? Palindromes are sexy! Don’t look at me like that. Blame They Might Be Giants for my predilection. Actually, I bet this initialism ran through your mind just now as you were reading all that. In fact, it’s probably popped up on more than one occasion whilst reading this article. It’s common for anyone, who, upon stumbling onto a scene (or what have you) that they have no clue as to what is going on, to utter “What the fudge.” Okay, so no, the “f” does not stand for “fudge” – I just can’t drop the f-bomb in here (and there’s plenty of these initialisms with that word in them as it is), and I presume that the HSM readership is savvy enough to know what I mean by now. If you’re not, well, then, sucks to be you.

WTH – Same as with “WTF” but with the milder “hell” or “heck” substituted in. For the people who don’t like to swear. It wouldn’t make much sense if it substituted “WTF” in a “WTF FTW” license plate though.

XOXOXO – A common message or conversation ender, signifying affection, usually employed by pubescent girls, or males pretending to be them. Why would a guy pretend to be a teenaged girl? So they can experience sitting down with their legs crossed without pain? How the heck should I know?

ZOMG – The corrupted form of OMG, where the typist hits the “z” key instead of the intended “shift” key. Nowadays, people actually type this on purpose. No, I’m not making this up.

“!!!1″ and variations – When someone is so emphatic with regards to something, they’re still pressing the one key, long after they’ve stopped holding down the shift key to type an exclamation point. Usually mocked these days by people actually typing, “!!!one!” or “!!!eleven!!”

That should cover it. I think I’ve sufficiently warped enough brain cells – thanks to spending inordinate amounts of time on Urban Dictionary and Something Awful doing research for this piece – to say I’ve seriously taken one for the team. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fix myself a Martini of Death in hopes of purging the sights I’ve seen and returning my brain back to (relative) normal.