10 Internet Slang Words with Dual Meanings

We’ve all become used to the online jargon, shorthands and acronyms that have developed over years of using the Internet. Silly as they might be, most of us are guilty of trimming, abbreviating or misspelling words to shave a few seconds communicating.

Photo by photonyx


It’s crazy to look at how pre-Internet acronyms and abbreviations like “LOL” have taken on completely new meanings (“laughing out loud”) with the introduction of widely popular Internet terms.


Here are a list of 10 Internet acronyms and slang terms with unexpected dual meanings, ranging from unpredictable to hilariously ironic.


1. LOL

Before netizens had us “laughing out loud,” there were little old ladies participating in less bone-tickling happenings. LOL in the medical world identifies a patient as a Little Old Lady. Sometimes, in lieu of actual medical terminology, physicians use shorthands like LOLFDGB (Little Old Lady, Fall Down, Go Boom) and LOLINAD (Little Old Lady In No Apparent Distress) on patient records to describe the health statuses of hospitalized elderly females.



BRB (Be Right Back) is one of the more polite online abbreviations; respectfully letting fellow chatters know that you’ll be taking a brief vacation from your keyboard.

Traditionally, however, BRB refers to a Big Red Button, an important, non-descript button associated with a power, reset, detonation, self-destruction, emergency shut-down, or ejection switch. The only real rule for the BRB is “do not press,” unless it’s an extremely dire situation, of course.


3. IDK

It’s ironic that IDK once stood for “Ident-A-Kid,” the largest child-identification program in the United States, but is now a popular acronym for “I don’t know.” Of all programs, I’d vouch to say Ident-A-Kid is definitely in the know!


4. BFF

For all the teenyboppers out there, BFF will always mean “Best Friends Forever.” But had you asked a computer programmer in the late 1980s or early 1990s, they may have said that BFF referred to Binary File Format, a procedure for storing computer files encoded in binary.


Photo by L'aBe


5. OMG

OMG is an Internet acronym used to express shock or amazement and can be translated as, “Oh my God/gosh/goodness,” depending on your comfortableness with using the Lord’s name in vain. But that’s not the only thing to be shocked about. Law enforcement officers use OMG to refer to “Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.” One of the most notorious OMGs in America is the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, founded in 1935.


6. PLZ

Used online to quickly say “please,” PLZ is also well-known in aviation as the airport code for the Port Elizabeth Airport in South Africa. The airport was recently upgraded to accommodate the increased traffic due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.


7. CYA

Usually, the Internet version of an acronym is way more vulgar than the “real life” application. Not this time. CYA in online speak is a pleasant misspelling of “see ya,” but for politicians, physicians, journalists and law enforcement officers, CYA is a sneaky acronym for “Cover Your Ass.”


8. BTW

FYI, BTW isn’t just short for “by the way.” It’s also an acronym for British Traditional Wicca. BTW refers to branches of the Neo-Pagan religion Wicca that have origins in the New Forest area of England.


9. FML

Before FML (F*ck My Life) became a popular site for telling screwed up life stories, FML stood for something much more family-friendly: Family and Medical Leave.



10. BC

Before there was a shorthand for “because,” there was Christ. Even before that, there was BC, or “Before Christ,” an English language acronym demarcating the epoch before he was born.



With terms like BACN (emails that are a cross between spam and personal mail) it can be hard to keep up. Also here is a list of 50 Interesting Social Media Terms.


Is this it? Of course not! Do you know any other internet terms with dual meanings from the past? Let me know in the comments!

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