23 Text Slang Phrases Your Kids Are Using, Decoded

By
Share

You may think you're in the know about all the latest acronyms and slogans that the kids are using these days, but, hey, it's 2017 and things have changed since you were a teen using a flip phone. Who remembers having to press the #1 key three times to get to the letter C? Texters had to be very patient as they tapped out their messages, prompting the popularity of quick and easy abbreviations to use to get your message across more quickly. The text slang phrases your kids are using are not only different from what you were using years ago, but it's probably different from what you thought was hip to send months, maybe even weeks ago — yep, they're changing as fast as your kids are.

From the well known LOL (laugh out loud) to the sarcastic and less often used KYS (kill yourself) there are plenty of phrases that you may have seen before, but missed their meaning. Before you start trying to communicate with the younger generation in a more casual, modern way though, consider that nothing says "uncool" more than a parent trying too hard to be, well, cool. If you start using their lingo, you are almost guaranteed to use at least one expression incorrectly, which will earn you at minimum an eye roll, at maximum, public social media humiliation. They might take a screenshot of your "hilarious" attempt at the text slang and forward it to all their friends, mocking you virtually, but with a far reach. If you think you are willing to risk it, following are a few you can try.

Good luck.

ROTFL

Giphy

Or ROTFLMAO. Alone, it's rolling on the floor laughing. With MAO, well, you include a "my ass off." "MAO" can also be added other text slang phrases, including the simpler "LMAO" (laughing my ass off).

WTF?

Giphy

What. The. F*ck? This expression of disbelief can be used to express shock or disappointment, like when their friend starts dating the guy they've been into for a long time. Or when a friend forgets to bring them some pizza. Or if they find out the McFlurry machine is down again.

TN

Giphy

Tonight. Not to be confused by RN, which is Right Now.

HYFR

Giphy

Hell, yeah. F*cking right. Best used at 1 a.m. when someone texts to see if you want to make a late night fast food run.

ILY

Giphy

I love you. Also used when someone texts to see if you want to make a late night fast food run.

LOL

Giphy

Laugh out loud. Hopefully sent after you text them something funny. If it's coming from your grandma, then it probably means lots of love (she'll figure it out eventually).

FTW

Giphy

For the win! Great way to end a text argument you've just won or are about to announce something really awesome someone just did.

JK

Giphy

Just kidding. Sometimes texted after insulting someone. They might say JK but not really be K.

IDK

Giphy

I don't know. Not to be confused with IDC, which is I don't care.

Btw

Giphy

By the way, it's much easier to write btw than by the way.

HBD

Giphy

Because why wish someone a Happy Birthday, when you can just throw them a quick HBD? Can these kids get any lazier?

KYS

Giphy

Kill yourself. Please note this is almost always used sarcastically when someone says something stupid and their friends want to make that clear. In all seriousness, cyberbullying is a big, awful deal, but the vast majority of kids use this in jest. Its brother is KMS (Kill Myself), which expresses self-deprecating frustration with yourself or your situation.

JW

Giphy

Just wondering. But usually when they write this, it's about something they really, really want to know. The JW just makes it look more casual.

BRB

Giphy

Be right back. Because sometimes you need to take a break from all that texting and you wouldn't want someone to think you were being rude if you didn't answer in 2.1 seconds.

STFU

Giphy

Shut the f*ck up. Used liberally, both when someone says something you like and when someone says something you don't like.

OMG

Giphy

Okay, you probably know this one — the abbreviation for the non-word, Omigod. Standard expression of shock. Or joy. Or excitement. Or happiness.

OMW

Giphy

On my way. It's the text you'll receive when you ask them why they're not home yet for dinner.

WDYM

Giphy

Much easier than spelling out "what do you mean?" Of course, you could just use a ? instead.

SMH

Giphy

Shaking my head. A nicer reaction than some of the above phrases to someone texting something stupid.

Rlly

Giphy

Really. Because why bother with that pesky e and annoying a? Vowels are so overrated.

Prob

Giphy

Another semi-lazy abbreviation. It's probably too much effort to write the whole word. Probably.

SMD

Giphy

Suck my d*ck. Not an actual request for a blow job. Just a way of telling someone they're being an asshole.

420

Giphy

Marijuana. Because April 20th (4/20) is weed day. So if you see this on your kid's text thread, it's not the time they are meeting someone at the bowling alley and it's not their latest Xbox score.

*Shout out to Lissie, Josh and Eric Maurer and their friends for translating this all for me.

Watch Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Check out the entire Romper's Doula Diaries series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.