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STFU or SMH? Check out the most commonly used text abbreviations and acronyms on Google

TL; DR: Did you know that FTW actually means “To Win” and not “F ** k The World”? Or that Bae is possibly an acronym for Before Anyone Else? The digital world is full of this kind of text, and not revealing what something means can lead to awkward situations. To illustrate how confusing this can be, someone has compiled a list of the most frequently used text abbreviations on Google around the world that can drive you to despair.

The report was compiled by a UK phone case retailer. Case24.com/uk (by using PCMag). Analytical tool used Ahrefs List the 35 most popular Google acronyms and acronyms as of April 2021.

SMH is in first place with almost a million searches. This is not too surprising since many people argue about whether it means “So much hate” or “Shaking my head.” SMH actually means “Rock My Head”, a term dating back to 2014. More than one person thought it meant “Plug my hole,” which I hope was an expression of surprise referring to their mouth and not the other hole.

It’s amazing to see LMAO and LOL in second and fourth place respectively. The acronym Laugh Out Loud dates back to the 1980s and was widely used in the 1990s, when mobile phones, many of which had fixed-text messaging plans, began to skyrocket in popularity. It even entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011. Interestingly, LOL was first used as initialism in the 1960s for Little Old Lady – LMAO!

GOAT (Greatest of All Time) is another term that has become very common in recent years, while AFK (Away From Keyboard) and BRB (Be Right Back) seem to have been around for decades. This writer recalls using both in chat rooms in the 1990s. It’s also unusual to see non-online words like DIY and AKA on the list.

Personally, I didn’t know that only OOTD (Outfit Of The Day) and NGL (Not Gonna Lie) are on the list, which may be a reflection of my age.

With more of the world’s population spending more time online, communications apps are becoming the main way to communicate, and more people are working remotely, we expect this list to look very different in ten years. New acronyms find their way into everyday life all the time, so the next LOL may not be far off, IMO.


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