Text abbreviations are shortened versions of a word or phrase used to save time. They’re also helpful when you have to stay within a limited character count.
In the past, deciphering text-speak was for cool moms and dads who wanted to fit in with their teens.
Today, businesses of every size are starting to recognize the value of incorporating text abbreviations into their campaigns to attract, engage, and foster relationships with their customers.
Learning text abbreviations is a must for any marketer who wants to keep up with the speed and brevity of today’s bite-sized communication style.
The challenge is to adapt to text-ese (an evolving language by itself) while maintaining proper texting etiquette and providing value at the same time.
If you’re still baffled every time you read IIRC, BRB, and IDK, this cheat sheet of SMS abbreviations and internet acronyms commonly used is for you.
The most popular SMS abbreviations
BRB – Be right back: Sorry, just grabbing a coffee – BRB!
BTW – By the way: I’m on the way, BTW should I bring anything?
OMG – Oh my God/goodness: OMG I can’t believe that happened!
IDK – I don’t know: The traffic’s delayed me, IDK what time I’ll get there!
TTYL – Talk to you later: I’ve got to run, TTYL.
OMW – On my way: I’ve just left, OMW now!
SMH/SMDH – Shaking my head/shaking my darn head: I can’t believe you just said that, SMH.
LOL – Laugh out loud: That’s so funny, LOL!
TBD – To be determined: The time and place is TBD!
IMHO/IMO – In my humble opinion/in my opinion: IMHO, coffee is way better than tea.
HMU – Hit me up: If you need anything just HMU!
IIRC – If I remember correctly: IIRC, he still works there.
LMK – Let me know: LMK if you need anything from the grocery store.
OG – Original gangsters (used for old friends): You’ll love her, she’s one of my OGs!
FTW – For the win: Did you see the game last night? Bills FTW!
NVM – Nevermind: NVM about grabbing the chips, I found some at home!
OOTD – Outfit of the day: What’s your OOTD? I don’t know which shoes to wear!
FWIW – For what it’s worth: FWIW, I think it’s going to rain anyway.
Ngl – Not gonna lie: Ngl, I’m ready for Friday
Rq – real quick: Can you check the deadline for me rq?
Iykyk – If you know, you know: That deli down the street is the best lunch place around. Iykyk
Ong – On god (I swear): I’m way too sick to work today, ong
Brt – Be right there: Found the place, brt!
Sm – So much: You’re a lifesaver, thank you sm
Ig – I guess: I mean if you’re going too ig I will
Wya – Where you at: Just got here, wya?
Istg – I swear to god: If this traffic doesn’t let up I’m gonna be late, istg
Hbu – How about you: I’m doing great, hbu?
Atm – At the moment: I can’t talk, I’m at work atm
Asap – As soon as possible: Can you send me that report asap?
Yw – You’re welcome: Thanks for the help, yw
Fyi – For your information: Fyi, the meeting is at 2 pm today
Romantic text abbreviations
Texting abbreviations can be casual, but you’ll also need quick and easy ways to tell that special someone you’re thinking about them.
BF – Boyfriend
GF – Girlfriend
ILY – I Love You
MCM – Man Crush Monday
WCW – Woman Crush Wednesday
Other common text abbreviations and acronyms
This list of SMS abbreviations and Internet acronyms is far from complete. Like culture, text-ese evolves over time. As a result, new acronyms and SMS abbreviations are introduced and used every day.
There are a few of our favorites that you can be confident most people will know. Give one a try today!
Also known as
As soon as possible
Call to action
Do it yourself
Do not disturb
End of day
Got to go
Not available/not applicable
Point of view
Thank you in advance
Thank god it’s Friday
To be honest
Terms and conditions
Quote of the day
Out of the office
Common texting slang
Like text abbreviations, texting slang can be confusing if you’ve never encountered them before. Take a look at the most common slang examples below.
No cap – No lie; I’m not lying. Ex. “Did you get tickets to the concert for real?” “No cap.”
Gucci – Good, cool. Ex. “I got us tickets to the concert.” “Gucci.”
Sus – Suspicious or suspect. Ex. “I got us tickets to the concert that’s sold out.” “That’s sus.”
Sending me – Used to describe something that excites or humors you. Ex. “This new song is sending me!”
Lowkey – Moderately; kind of. Ex. “This new song is lowkey my favorite.
Slay – Good (or an acknowledgment like “okay”). Ex. “Did you see Lady Gaga’s Oscar look? Such a slay.”
Mid – Mediocre. Ex. “I don’t know, that movie was kind of mid.”
It gives/it’s not giving – It’s good (or “It reminds me of…”)/It’s not good. Ex. “Yeah, I saw the weather for tomorrow, it’s not giving.”
Vibe – A general feeling, a mood (usually a good one). Ex. “We had a great time, it was a total vibe.”
Social media text abbreviations
Insta – A shortened name for Instagram
LI – Short for “LinkedIn”
Twits – Short for “Twitter”
Business abbreviations for texting
Texting is also common among coworkers and customers. These abbreviations will help you navigate the world of professional texting.
B2C – Business to Consumer We serve all kinds of B2C companies, from ecommerce to tech support.
DSC – Dedicated Short Code A unique 5- to 6-digit number that your business can use to send SMS or MMS messages (this article provides more information on all our number types.
EOD – End of Day Good morning! Our year-end sale is only until EOD. See you at our store!
FTFY – Fixed That For You Thank you for calling customer support! We’ve addressed your concern as of 9 PM today. FTFY!
ICYMI – In Case You Missed It ICYMI, The Expanse Season 3 is now on our archives. Upgrade your account today to get access!
MMS – Multimedia Messaging Service MMS messaging allows you to add media like audio, video, and GIFs to your texts.
SMS – Short Message Service SMS is a message type you can use to send and receive texts over a cell network.
TL;DR – Too Long; Didn’t Read Good day! You will be receiving an in-depth explanation on how to file your claim with us in your email today. For a TL;DR version, call us at 555-123-4567 between 9 am- 5 pm Mon-Fri.
TYVM- Thank You Very Much TYVM for your purchase! See you at our next sale in the fall.
WIP – Work in Progress If you’re having trouble exporting files, contact customer support at [email protected]. Bug fixes are a WIP by the dev team.
Business texting compliance approved abbreviations
As with any industry, the world of business texting and text marketing is rich with jargon and abbreviations. And when you’re up against a tight character limit, the temptation to shorten your words is real.
In an effort to help you avoid confusion or misdirection with any of your SMS compliance messaging, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (CTIA) developed a list of approved abbreviations you can use in your text marketing that will help you save space without sacrificing clarity.
Approved CTIA abbreviations include:
Msg instead of Message
/ instead of Per
Txt instead of Text
mo, ea. mo. or /mth instead of Per Month
Msg&Data Rates May Apply instead of Message and Data Rates May Apply
How to incorporate texting abbreviations in a business context
Now that you’re an expert in business text abbreviations, your next step is to familiarize yourself with the do’s and don’ts of using them.
Our lists are a great way to keep on top of the must-know text speak for your professional and personal life.
Don’t cram too many texting abbreviations in one text. What would it feel like if you receive a text from your insurance company saying: Sup! ICYMI, CYE for instrux on policy renewal. SSIA. Sounds rude, right?
Be creative, but not unprofessional. When appropriate, add images and GIFs usingMMS marketing. Your words and acronyms don’t have to do all of the talking. It’s easy to attach images and graphics to your messages as well. Use these to make your messages more engaging.
Text like an adult. Don’t use shorthand like “2” for “to” or “U” for “you.” Texting like this does save precious characters—but it also looks unprofessional. Compare these two texts:
“Go2 Meg’s 2day asap 4 a gr8 deal! 20% off ne slice wen u sho dis text.”
“Visit Meg’s ASAP for a great deal! 20% off any slice when you show this text.”
Which text looks like it’s from a respectable business?
Only use text abbreviations your audience will understand. Knowing your audience helps you decide which abbreviations are appropriate and which ones aren’t.
For instance, you wouldn’t want to text “Hello, this is Joe, tech support for X Cable. Responding to your query, FTFY!” to a 70-year old needing help with his cable. In this instance it would be better to write out, “Be seeing you.”
Text abbreviation mistakes to avoid
There are hundreds of word abbreviations out there, so any fear of using slang abbreviations for texting is warranted. The best thing to do is play it safe. Nobody’s going to be on your case if you type out the full phrase.
However, if you do want to start incorporating more abbreviation in your text messages these are two key things to avoid:
Avoid using dated slang or abbreviations when texting
In a communication method that’s only a decade old, it’s hard to imagine text abbreviations going out of date.
But meanings change, just as they do in our everyday language. Keep an eye out for what others around you are using. Not only to gauge appropriateness, but also to keep on top of what phrases are still commonly used.
Avoid overusing text abbreviations to communicate
Sure, most young people can understand text abbreviations just fine. But nobody wants to read a full message written in them. Avoid:
Hi, WUU2? LMK if u want to TLK TMRW!
When in doubt simply take your time to type out the full word. It’s the fail-safe way of making sure your text messaging is read in the correct context.
Recognizing your audience
Just like addressing different people in day to day life, SMS requires you to adapt your speech based on who you’re talking to. Some of the popular SMS abbreviations you use on your friends might not be appropriate for your boss or a client.
Alfredo is SimpleTexting's brand manager. He's passionate about using his 10+ years of marketing experience to help small businesses grow.
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