The History of Chat Room Lingo
Since conversations in Internet chat rooms take place in real time, it can be difficult for a slow typist to communicate clearly. Therefore, chat room abbreviations are simply a way for people to easily interact with each other.
Of course, it should be noted that some abbreviations used in chat rooms have a slightly different purpose. For example, teens frequently use the abbreviations "POTS", "POS", or "POSTER" to indicate that they are unable to discuss private matters because a parent is standing over their shoulder.
Common Chat Room Abbreviations
While there are hundreds of different chat room abbreviations in use, the following terms are among the most common:
- 73: Best Regards
- 88: Love and Kisses
- 100: Nature Calls/Pit Stop
- AFAIC: As Far As I'm Concerned
- AFAICT: As Far As I Can Tell
- AFAIK: As Far As I Know
- AKA: Also Known As
- BOT: Back On Topic
- BRB: Be Right Back
- DW: Don't Worry
- EG: Evil Grin
- EMSG: E-mail Message
- EOD: End Of Discussion
- ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival
- FYA: For Your Amusement
- FYI: For Your Information
- GAL: Get A Life
- GBTW: Get Back To Work
- LOL: Laughing Out Loud
- ROFL: Rolling On Floor Laughing
- ROTF: Rolling On The Floor
- SS: So Sorry
- SWAK: Sealed With A Kiss
- SWL: Screaming With Laughter
- SYS: See You Soon
- YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary
- YWIA: You're Welcome In Advance
- ZZZ: Sleeping
Can't find what you're looking for on this short list? The Emoticons and Smileys page has a large dictionary of chat room abbreviations, including several somewhat obscure slang terms.
Teen Chat Decoder is another helpful resource for people in search of definitions for the terms used in chat rooms. Simply type the abbreviation you're looking for into the search box to be taken to a page listing all of the possible definitions.
Special Types of Abbreviations
While most chat room abbreviations are found universally across the Internet, some sites have their own special lingo for members to use. For example, the scrapbooking Web site Two Peas in a Bucket has a Pea Dictionary that lists the following craft-related abbreviations:
- CG: Computer Generated
- CH: Craft & Hobby Association
- CJ: Circle Journal
- CK: Creating Keepsakes, a scrapbook magazine
- CKU: Creating Keepsakes University, a scrapbook workshop
- CTMH: Close To My Heart, a stamp and scrapbooking direct sales company
- HIA: Hobby Industry Association
- HOF: Hall of Fame, a contest by Creating Keepsakes
- HOTP: Hot Off The Press, a paper and embellishment company
- SS: Simple Scrapbooks, a scrapbook magazine
- SU: Stampin' Up, a direct sales company that has stamps and some scrapbooking supplies
If you are looking for definitions for the abbreviations found on a chat room or Web site devoted to one particular hobby or special interest, it's usually easiest to ask a more experienced member of the group for assistance. In most cases, he or she will be happy to help.
Other Uses for Abbreviations
Chat room abbreviations have spilled over into other forms of communication as well. For example, the abbreviations used in chat rooms are now often part of e-mail correspondence or text messages sent from cell phones. The abbreviations are sometimes seen on blogs and MySpace profiles as well.
However, you should always remember that it is never appropriate to use chat room abbreviations in a business environment. When you are communicating with professional colleagues, clients or prospective employers, this type of language is much too informal. It's best to write in a way that will convey you are serious about your work.