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Become a Text Message Shorthand Pro

Save time—and face—by learning the text message lingo.

by Erin Scottberg on April 7, 2008

TextMessaging_shBack when beepers ruled our world, our mobile vocabulary never developed much beyond 143 (I love you) and 1134209 (go to hell). But now that every phone on the market is SMS-capable and texting plans are dirt-cheap (about $5 per month), Americans are sending more than 28 billion texts per month. The need for instant, discreet communication has spawned a language of its own. Memorize the terms below and you’ll be able to have an entire conversation with minimal keystrokes—saving your time and your thumbs while possibly even earning you some cool points with your kids. But take caution not to overuse. You don’t want to be that parent who just, like, tries too hard, KWIM?


IDK: I don’t know
BTW: By the way
JSYK: Just so you know
SOW: Speaking of which
BFF: Best friends forever (describes a tight, platonic friendship and is not to be confused with...)
BF: Boyfriend
WE: Whatever
RL: Running late

AFA: As far as (often followed with IC for “I’m concerned” or IK for “I know”)
ALAP: As late as possible
BRT: Be right there
OMW: On my way
DKDC: Don’t know, don’t care
IMO: In my opinion
WDYM: What do you mean?
LMK: Let me know

PCM: Please call me
OIC: Oh, I see
Prolly: Probably
JW: Just wondering
NMU: Not much, you?
NP: No problem
WAYD: What are you doing?
DBL: Don’t be late
RUS: Are you serious?
KWIM: Know what I mean?

Learn these common T9Word errors and make sense of that indecipherable message:


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