Internet Slang

Internet Slang

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Updated Jan 07, 2020 at 08:06AM EST by Y F.

Added Aug 10, 2009 at 03:14PM EDT by Brad.

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Internet Slang consists of a number of different ways of speaking, sub-languages, expressions, spelling techniques and idioms that have obtained most of their meaning on the Internet. These different kinds of language can be either known as chatspeak[15], SMS speak[16] or IM language.[17]


Intentional Misspellings

Intentional misspellings may have stemmed from space restriction on instant messaging and SMS services, including Twitter. However, some of these misspellings have come from accidental typographical errors that have been embraced by the community. One example of this is "Teh," an error when typing "The." Deliberate usage of Teh dates back to the late 1990s in real-time gaming chats and IRC channels and was later popularized as a term in LOLspeak.

AMIS HIDING FROM TEH DOMO-KUNS asleep @ teh wiil has teh che but dont have teh buryu MEDUCHEESE.CO

Phonetic Translation

Coming straight from SMS language, this is a way of replacing entire words or bits of words by their phonetic equivalent embodied into single letters or figures and it is often found in 1337speak. Many memes tend to reuse these terms on their own, as can be seen by examples such as In Ur base or LOLcats.

H--- Zappiens' writing My smmr hols wr CWOT. B4, we used 2go2 NY 2C my bro, his GF & thr 3: kids FTF. ILNY, it's a gr8 plc.* My summer holidays were a complete waste of time. Before, we used to go to New York to see my brother, his girlfriend and their three screaming kids face to face. I love New York. It's a great place Daily Telegraph, Sun Mar 2, 2003, British Girl Baffiles Teacher with SMS Essay


Disemvoweling[19] is the practice of removing all vowels from a token word and is also found in SMS/IM language.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog

would, after being disemvowelled, look like this:

Th qck brwn fx jmps vr th lzy dg

MONs. w


1337speak consists of replacing a letter by its closest figure's look-alike, or by using various keyboard signs such as "+", "(", "[", "/", "_" and more to recreate that letter. A Russian form of 1337speak known as Padonkaffsky jargon or Olbanian[18] also exists and a Filipino equivalent known as Jejemon emerged in 2010.

SIR, ARE You ALLRIGHT? Do You NEED A DOCTOR? DOES ANYONE HERE SPEAK L33T? 3Y3 ๅ…ซ1331> h3 [P! 'M SORRY? I DON'T.. 3Y3 \33d j00 to g47z d4 d0c70r. 3Y3 \\ ใ€้‡‘ n33d m4 pl11z!

Letter Repetition

More than a slang, it symbolizes a type of language, often pointed as being used by teenagers, consisting of the same letter in a word repeated several times for emphasis. Other spelling phenomena has been derived from it such as !!!111oneeleven as an ironic way to replace an exclamation mark or FUUUUUU to express great frustration, and coming directly from Rageguy.


Acronyms and Initialisms

Acronyms[20], the art of creating a neology through the association of letters and initials between them, exist on the Internet since the late 1980s.
Starting with LOL, from laughing out loud and used to convey great hilarity, hundreds of others have been made since then. Among them can be found : OMG, BRB, RTFM, SMH, G.O.A.T., and tl;dr.


The Internet is also the cradle of many expressions whose complete meanings can only be acknowledge and understood because of or in relation to the Internet. While some of them are used as synonymous of another word, the way Over 9000 can be viewed as a replacement in expressing lots or bucketload the same way win and fail are respectively meaning success and failure, others have their own meaning, such as DERP as a way to signify stupidity, or also Fag as a suffix which has a totally different meaning and doesn't necessarily address homosexuals in a derogatory way.

Academic Research


Dictionary Recognition

On August 28th, 2013, Oxford Dictionaries Online announced[1] they would be adding 43 new words, many of which were internet slang terms including "Bitcoin," "Derp," "Selfie," "Twerk" and "tl;dr". Between Twitter and Facebook, the announcement was shared more than 750 times. That day, dozens of news media outlets and internet culture blogs reported on the additions including Business Insider[2], Chicago Tribune[3], Forbes[4], Time NewsFeed[5], Mashable[6], TechCrunch[7], NPR[8] and the Huffington Post.[9] The Atlantic[10] also shared a satirical piece highlighting the use of every new word disguised as a memo from the Oxford Dictionary's Word Selection Committee (shown below).

MEMO FROM: Word Selection Committee of the Oxford Dictionary TO: Staff SUBJECT: Re: today's new words Dear Staff, I know what you're thinking: "Grats, idiots. You've destroyed the English language." You don't like our new batch of words. You unlike our new batch of words. You'Oxford Dictionary isn't supposed to girl crush on Urban Dictionary. We're supposed to be a gateway for the future of language, not some linguistic omnishambles for Generation Twerk.

That day, the additions were discussed at length on Twitter with more than 25,000 mentions[11] of "Twerk Dictionary"[12] and more than 42,000 mentions[13] of "Selfie Dictionary."[14] Also on the 28th, actor Morgan Freeman was asked to read the day's headlines, including the dictionary additions, during an interview on Headline News Morning Express (shown below). After reading the definition for "twerking" aloud, he admitted he had never heard the word before.

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