25 Most Common Text Message Abbreviations to Know

Posted by , Updated on November 20, 2023

We’ve become a society of texters. Text messaging has become one of our most common activities these days. (Obvi.) We take our phones to the shop, on public transit, even to the bathroom. Though a text, also known as SMS (Simple Message Service) or MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service), used to be limited to 160 characters, these days most cellular plans allow unlimited texting, so u can wrt wteva u want 2 ur frnds. Some words r kewl but don’t rly shorten things (like kewl). From the vintage flip phones (can they really be called vintage if they’re only 10 years old?) to today’s smartphones, text messaging continues to evolve. Find out what people are saying in their messages in this list of the 25 Most Common Text Message Abbreviations You Should Probably Be Aware Of. FYI WYSIWYG XOXO



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Being one of the most common words in the English language didn’t help get pls/plz (please) higher on the list, coming in as the 25th most commonly used text message abbreviation. Maybe big-time texters aren’t very polite?



Scottish_Referendum_-_No_thanks_signSource: Bloomsbury International, Image: Wikimedia

A text message abbreviations with multiple spellings, thanks’s shortcuts THX and TKS are also not on the top of the list. Maybe there’s some truth to this unpolite theory…



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LMK if you’ve heard this one before. Becoming more standard in business circles as well (LMK by COB = Let Me Know by Close Of Business), LMK is a good way to end a conversation when you’re waiting to hear back on something.



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Not much off from OK, “K” has been the root of many people’s texting anger. Ever write a long message to someone and they just respond with K? No? K.



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JK about writing K to you in the last message. Totes didn’t mean it. Short for “Just Kidding”, JK has become a necessary text message abbreviation. Since a text message doesn’t have inflection like the human voice does, some messages can be misinterpreted by the receiver. Thx to emoticons, it’s now easier to convey emotions.



I love you so much ILYSM text message abbreviationSource: Bloomsbury International, Image: Wikimedia

A favorite of couples and mothers, the text message shorthand for “I Love You” is ILY or ILU. It’s probably best not to use JK after ILY. And don’t respond to ILY with #19!



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Yikes! This abbreviation’s frequent use is quite surprising. The SMS abbreviation for “I Don’t Care”, IDC might start an argument if used in the wrong way.



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Similar to IDC but totally safe to use, IDK is the abbreviation for “I Don’t Know”. Often used to respond to questions or ask for clarification as “IDK what that is”, IDK is a gr8 one!



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A favorite of parents hoping to look cool in front of their kids, gr8 is shorthand for “Great”.



Leaving_KS_sign,_Route_66Source: Bloomsbury International, Image: Wikimedia

Very popular in old chat rooms and online messaging services such as AIM (AOL Instant Messenger), G2G/GTG are the abbreviations for “Got To Go”. Along with numbers 8, 5, and 2, it’s a common way to say bye.



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Parallel to ILY/ILU, AML stands for “All My Love”. Don’t confuse it with the popular Reddit feeds of AMA (Ask Me Anything)!



Childhood_friends_at_a_carnivalSource: Bloomsbury International, Image: Wikipedia

One of the most popular teenager sms abbreviations, BFF stands for “Best Friend Forever”. BFF was more popular in the early 2000’s and is often replaced today with “bestie”, though BFF has a stronger meaning.



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Lovers love using loving abbreviations. Most of us have had a GF/BF, short for “Girlfriend” or “Boyfriend”.



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Though we’ve increased our chatting over technology, we still enjoy a bit of F2F talk. Short for “Face-to-Face”, F2F is generally used when a topic is too serious to talk about via text.



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An abbreviation (like #7 and #3) which started out before text messaging, ETA (and its cousin ETD) stands for “Estimated Time of Arrival” (or Departure).



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“GTG, chat tmrw” was also a popular AIM phrase. The tenth most common text message abbreviation, Tmrw or Tmro is shorthand for “Tomorrow”. It makes us think – why isn’t there a commonly used abbreviation for “yesterday”?



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Sometimes written as “defo”, Def is a useful abbreviation for agreement. Standing for “Definitely”, this is one you should def know, k?



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A common way to say goodbye, CU L8R (“See You Later”) can also be split into Cya or L8r to stand alone. Can you decipher this phrase? CU l8r allgtr, ina while crkdl.



sms reference serviceSource: Bloomsbury International, Image: Noel C via Flickr

You should know this one B/C it’s so commonly used! “Because” has a host of different abbreviations, including B/C, bc, and cuz – though don’t confuse the last one with your cousin! Context matters.



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Useful for adding something to a previous message, BTW is short for “By The Way”. BTW, how many of these abbreviations do you normally use?



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Similar to TTYL (“Talk To You Later”) which came in just off the list at #26, B4N is short for “Bye For Now”. These days, it seems to be on the decline with bai (bye) becoming more popular. (Don’t confuse bai with bae which is short for “babe” or “baby”, an affectionate term for a lover.)



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U def can guess this text message abbreviation just by sounding it out. Short for “before”, B4 used to be the name of a bomber plane and is a Battleship boardgame position, but that’s probably not where the name comes from.



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Common usage in the business world, ASAP is short for “As Soon As Possible”. It was often seen on invitations, writing RSVP ASAP. Did you know RSVP is French, standing for “Reservez-vous S’il Vous Plait”? It means “Please reserve yourself/your place”.



Norman_Rockwell_-_Fishing_Trip,_They'll_Be_Coming_Back_Next_Week_-_Google_Art_ProjectSource: Bloomsbury International, Image: Wikimedia

An abbreviation which, like #1, has started to become used in F2F conversation, BBL (“Be Back Later”) or BRB (“Be Right Back”) is pronounced in-person as “berb” and is the second most commonly used sms abbreviation.



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It’s no laughing matter that LOL is the most common text message abbreviation. But did it really come as a shock? Short for “Laughing Out Loud”, LOL has become so mainstream in our text messages and spoken words that it was even added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011.