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Welcome to The Mad Lexiphile. It is my intent to explore words here; their origins, evolution, usage. Words are fascinating. They are alive; they are born, they change and, sometimes, they die. They are our principal tool for communicating with one another. There are millions of words yet only an estimated 171,476 words are in common current use. As a lexiphile, I enjoy discovering new words, using them and learning about their origins. Why yes, I do read dictionaries for fun... don't you?

With an even 100 votes, you chose to explore the wonderful world of Internet slang and acronyms. This is probably the sector of our language that has grown and changes the fastest. New slang is born every day. Old slang evolves. There are new sayings to reduce to an acronym. In the days between my writing this and publishing it, the Internet will probably have borne several new words or acronyms.

I'm going to do this a bit differently. I am going to list the acronyms because there really is no good way to work them into the text. I am going to skip the ones that we all know (LOL, OMG, A/S, WTF and so forth) because I don't want to waste our time. KWIM? Some of these are ones you may see or use in messages (here and elsewhere) and some are ones that I just thought were either too fun or too useful.

^5                      High Five
404                     No clue (from error message)
411                Information
AAMOF                   As A Matter Of Fact
AFAIK                   As Far as I Know
AFK                     Away From Keyboard
AIIC                    As If I Care
AISI                As I See It
ASDF                    Read text in comment (DK specific)
ATAB                Ain't That A Bitch
ATWD                Agree That We Disagree
AWTTW                A Word To The Wise
BAU                Business As Usual
BITD                Back In The Day
BOCTAAE                But Of Course There Are Always Exceptions
BOHICA                Bend Over Here It Comes Again
BOT                     Back on Topic
BSOD                Blue Screen of Death
BTDT                    Been There, Done That
BWDIK                But What Do I Know
CMIW                Correct Me if I'm Wrong
CRS                Can't Remember Shit
CYA                     Cover Your Ass
CYE                Check your Email
DAMHIKT                Don't Ask Me How I Know That
DBEYR                Don't Believe Everything You Read
DHYB                Don't Hold Your Breath
DIAFYO                  Did I Ask For Your Opinion
DILLIGAFF               Do I look Like I give a Flying Fuck?
DWWWI                Surfing the World Wide Web while Intoxicated
EMFBI                Excuse Me For Butting In
EOD                     End of Discussion
EOL                     End of Lecture
EOM                     End Of Message
EOT                End Of Thread (meaning: end of discussion)
ESAD                    Eat Shit And Die
FCFS                First Come, First Served
FMTYEWTK        Far More Than You Ever Wanted To Know
FOS                Full Of Shit
FTASB                Faster Than A Speeding Bullet
FTBOMH                From The Bottom Of My Heart
FTLOG                For The Love Of God
FTTB                For The Time Being
FWIW                    For what it's worth
FYLTGE                From Your Lips To Gods Ears
FYSBIGTBABN        Fasten Your SeatBelts It's Going To Be A Bumpy Night
GAL                Get A Life
GALGAL                Give A Little Get A Little
GIWIST                  Gee I Wish I'd Said That
GI                Google It
GMTA                    Great Minds Think Alike
GOMF                    Get Outta My Face
GNSD                Good Night Sweet Dreams
GOYHH                Get Off Your High Horse
GTK                Good To Know
GWS                Get Well Soon
GYHOOYA                Get Your Head Out Of Your Ass
HAWTLW                Hello And Welcome To Last Week
HBASTD                Hitting Bottom And Starting To Dig
HHIS                Hanging Head In Shame
HTH                     Hope This Helps
HTNOTH                Hit The Nail On The Head
IAC                     In Any Case
IAE                     In Any Event
IBIWISI                I'll Believe It When I See It
IBTD                I Beg To Differ
IGTNT                   I Got The News Today (ref. to military deaths)
IHNO                I Have No Opinion
IIRC                    If I Remember Correctly
IIWM                If It Were Me
IMBO                    In My Biased Opinion
IMCO                    In My Considered Opinion
IMHO                    In My Humble Opinion
IMNSHO                  In My Not So Humble Opinion
IMO                     In My Opinion
IMVHO                   In My Very Humble Opinion
INPO                    In No Particular Order
IOKIYAR                 It's Okay If You Are Republican
IOW                     In other words
IRL                     In Real Life
IUD                     Insert Usual Disclaimers
IYKWIM                If You Know What I Mean
JM2C                Just My 2 Cents
KISS                    Keep It Simple Stupid
KMA                     Kiss my A*
KWIM                    Know What I Mean?
LLTA                Lots and Lots of Thunderous Applause
LONH                Lights On, Nobody Home
MB                Message Board
MBN                Must Be Nice
MHBFY                My Heart Bleeds For You
MHOTY                My Hat's Off To You
MIRL                Meet/Met In Real Life
MITIN                More Info Than I Needed
MMHA2U                My Most Humble Apologies To You
MO                Move On
MOF                Matter Of Fact
MOTD                Message Of The Day
NAA!                    Not Another Acronym!
NBD                     No Big Deal
NBFAB                Not Bad For A Beginner
NBIF                No Basis In Fact
NFW                No Fucking Way
NISM                Need I Say More
NITL                Not In This Lifetime
NMP                Not My Problem
NP                No Problem
NQA                No Questions Asked
NRN                     No Reply Necessary
NSFW                Not Safe For Work (content is obscene)
NTL                     Nevertheless
NTTAWWT                Not That There's Anything Wrong With That
NTW                Not To Worry
NTYMI                Now That You Mention It
OATUS                   On a Totally Unrelated Subject
OAUS                    On a Related Subject
ONNTA                   Oh No, Not This Again
OOSOOM                  Out of Sight, Out of Mind
OOTC                    Obligatory On-Topic Comment
OTOH                    On the other hand
OTTOMH                  Off the Top of My Head
OTW                     On the Whole
OWTTE                   Or Words to that Effect
PITA                    Pain In The Ass
PMFJI                Pardon Me For Jumping In
PMIGBOM                Put Mind In Gear Before Opening Mouth
POTUS                President of the United States
POV                Point of View
PTMM                    Please Tell Me More
RAEBNC                Read And Enjoyed, But No Comment
RCI                Rectal Cranial Inversion
ROTM                Right On The Money
RPG                Role Playing Games
RTBS                Reason To Be Single
RTFF                Read The Fucking FAQ
SAHM                Stay At Home Mom
SAR                     Some Assembly Required
SEWAG                Scientifically Engineered Wild Ass Guess
SFAIAA                So Far As I Am Aware
SNERT                Snotty Nosed Egotistical Rotten Teenager (among others)
SOL                     Shit Out of Luck
SOP                     Standard Operational Procedure
SOW                Speaking Of Which
SSDD                Same Shit Different Day
SWDYT                So What Do You Think
SWIM                See What I Mean?
T&C                Terms & Conditions
TANSTAAFL               There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free lunch
TBH                To Be Honest
TCB                     Taking Care of Business
TEOTWAWKI        The End Of The World As We Know It
TFH                Thread From Hell
TIA                     Thanks In Advance
TMI                Too Much Information
TPTB                The Powers That Be
TTBOMK                  To the Best of My Knowledge
unPC                unPolitically Correct
UNTCO                You Need To Chill Out
WDYMBT What do You Mean by That
w00t                We Own the Other Team (now used for "yay")
WAG                Wild Ass Guess
WAI                What An Idiot
WDR                With Due Respect
WIBNI                Wouldn't It Be Nice If
WITW                What In The World
WIU                Wrap It Up
WTHOW                White Trash Headline Of the Week
WTSHTF                When The Shit Hits The Fan
WYLASOMWTC              Would You Like a Saucer of Milk with that Comment?
WYSIWYG                 What You See Is What You Get
YAOTM                   Yet Another Off-Topic Message
YGTBK                You've Got To Be Kidding
YKW                You Know What
YMAK                You May Already Know
YMMV                    Your Mileage may vary
YNK                You Never Know
YOYO                You're On Your Own
YSK                You Should Know
YSS                     You Suck Severely
YWSYLS                  You win some, you lose some

There is a very big list of acronyms here:
and if you are into smileys, they have a big list of them, too:

Moving on to Internet slang... Slang on the Internets changes almost daily. But there are always the golden oldies. I am leaving out text speak unless it's something that sees a lot of use online as well.

You may have run into all your base are belong to us in message boards or chatrooms. It stems from a Japanese video game called Zero Wing, which became a geek hipster joke and eventually went mainstream. The syntax is deliberate, based on the horrible Japanese-to-English translation. Another one you may see that came from this game is "what you say?"

When you are surfing the 'Net you may run into a website that is overly busy. You know the type: wild background, too many different fonts, music, etc. This is referred to as cornea gumbo. This is based on the Southern soup called gumbo, which is composed of lots of different ingredients.

There are a few terms for Web newcomers, including newbie, n00b and debbie. A newbie (or newb) is someone who is new to a site but is aware of and practices good nettiquette. A n00b is someone who acts like a jerk, inciting flame wars and the like. They may or may not actually be new to a site. A debbie is really new, as in someone who is not at all familiar with the 'Net. Newbies and debbies are okay to interact with and help familiarize with the site. A n00b is just an online douchebag.

Sometimes here on DK, we get a flurry of diaries on a particular topic. When besieged like this we may feel like we are experiencing deja moo, particularly if the topic is not considered that important. This is a subjective term meaning that one has heard this bullshit before.

Most of us have made some very good friends online. These are our dot-comrades. The people we know only via the Web, as opposed to people we have met online and then met IRL. Also known as key pals.

When someone wishes to imply that you are a dittohead and cannot think for yourself, they may say that you are drinking the Kool-aid. Dittohead has gone wider than its beginnings with airbag Rush Limbaugh, and may now refer to anyone who blindly falls in line with a doctrine. If you drink the Kool-aid, you are accepting the given parameters of any given ideology. This term came from the terrible tragedy of Jonestown in 1978. You may also be admonished, "don't drink the Kool-aid," meaning don't believe everything you are told.

Gamers may know of easter eggs in their games. These are special content hidden by the game programmers and can be an extra game level, a secret area, an animation or a surprise image. These are usually buried so as to create a challenge for the players. Some DVDs have easter eggs, too.

Once the inside joke of engineers, Engrish now has its own web site. While Engrish can come from anywhere in the world, the majority comes from Japan. English is a difficult language and translating from one's native language into English is, let's be honest, hard to do. But oh the laughs that it creates! You can see Engrish in action here.

With the growth of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, we now have a verb to describe using them. If one is facebooking, they are using one of these sites; checking messages, creating profiles, sharing personal information and "meeting" new people. Even if MySpace is the site in question, its competition became the verb.

The anonymity of the 'Net can allow some people to become belligerent and mean. This gives rise to the flame or, as it's known here on DK, falme (maybe someone can explain how this began). Flame wars are vicious arguments that can sometimes crop up. Someone who posts intentionally nasty comments is said to be flame baiting, or trying to instigate a flame war.

Computer programmers use the word foo as a place marker or test (as in naming a test file). From this grew foobar which has the same meaning as the acronym FUBAR but involving computers or the Internet. The past-tense is foobed and the verb is foob. Here on DK, FOO stands for Friends Of Olbermann, who meet on weeknights in the Countdown diary.

While surfing, you may come across websites that are abandoned but still available. These kinds of sites are called zombies. A ghost site is one that is not updated but still has good information that continues to be useful because the info is not outdated (a history site, for example). An orphan Annie is a site that is not updated and is outdated. Zombie is also a term for a PC that has received a virus or Trojan and is used to generate spam.

A Trojan (or Trojan horse) is a virus disguised as a program. These can be hidden in free or share ware which, as soon as it is opened, wreaks havoc on the computer. They can also appear as e-mail attachments. The term comes from the Trojan horse of Greek myth.

If you receive an e-mail asking for personal information, usually your bank or credit card account, then you are the victim of phishing. Often the e-mails appear to be from a reputable site like ebay or but hovering over the URL reveals a web address completely unrelated to them. The word is a variation of fishing, as the e-mail dangles "bait" with which to fool the recipient. A well-disguised phish or spam is spamouflaged.

Everyone has had the experience of waiting while your computer processes or loads something and seems to take forever to do so. This time spent in graybar land can be useful for getting real work done. ;-)

Do you pop onto the 'Net several times a day to check your e-mail or check headlines? You are infosnacking. Originally this meant doing something not work-related like shopping. But like any great Internet term, it has morphed.

If you work in the industry or are considered knowledgeable or otherwise in-the-know with regard to the online revolution, you are a digerati. Also known as Generation D. If you are jacked up on coffee or Red Bull while working on the computer you are a jitterati.

We all know what Spam is but there is a word for personal unsolicited e-mail. Meatloaf is those jokes, funny pictures, info lists and so on that is sent by folks you know. The word implies that, unlike Spam, meatloaf is "home made." The word "meat" is used to indicate real, as opposed to online, as in meatbot (person) and meatspace (real life).

Sometimes something will sweep the Web, becoming a temporary fad or even a tradition. A meme can be a word or phrase, a video, a picture or just about anything that either makes us laugh or makes us think.

An e-mail with bogus content, such as the ones that that questioned Obama's birth certificate, is known as a turklebaum. This is the name of the worker who supposedly died at his desk and was undiscovered for five days (a bogus story). It can refer to fake virus warnings, urban legends, stock hoaxes, and other forms of misinformation either in e-mail or on Boards. A perfect example of DBEYR.

Remember when wallpaper meant that stuff that you decorated rooms with? Now it means the background picture on your monitor. This is an example of a neologism. Literally "new word", this describes much of Internet slang. Neologisms have increased dramatically since the advent of the Web. They can be a reformat of an existing word (wallpaper), a portmanteau (mouselexia) or newly coined (emoticon).

Several years ago, Jonathan Alter coined the term ostrich years to describe the 1990's. He meant that the public had been distracted by celebrity and other junk news from the real news. An ostrich then, is someone who ignores the real news in favor of the latest on Britney or Paris. If someone reads the Enquirer instead of the NY Times, they can be said to be ostriching.

My daughter is an otaku. No, I'm not upset about it. An otaku is a fan of Japanese pop culture. They can be manga otaku (like my daughter) or ido otaku (trading card collectors) or even (gods forbid) hentai otaku. Generation D is heavily influenced by all things Japanese.

A program that became a verb, photoshopped is an image which has been manipulated. A recent example is Iran's so-called missile(s) that were launched last summer. Photoshop was introduced in 1990 by Adobe and has become the premiere image manipulation program.

If you are on Facebook you know what it means to poke someone. Those who aren't familiar with the Facebook community, to poke is to contact another Facebook member. It can mean different things to different people and it can have a sexual connotation. A poke war is a back-and-forth "battle" using the poke mechanism.

If someone is deserving of compliments or thanks, they can receive props. Or here on DK, mojo. Props can also mean proper respect.

Someone over 50 who uses the Internet is a silver surfer. No, we don't have a silver surfboard that flies (though that would be pretty cool), we are senior netizens, as it were. We are considered to be experienced users of the Net. So be nice, you young'uns!

Do you know someone who thrives on crisis? Then you know a stress puppy. Born of office slang, this has spread since it is such a useful, descriptive and funny term.

We all know what a troll is. But there are several different kinds of trolls:

* Playtime Trolls: an individual plays a simple, short game. Such trolls are relatively easy to spot because their attack or provocation is fairly blatant, and the persona is fairly two-dimensional.
   * Tactical Trolls: This is where the troller takes the game more seriously, creates a credible persona to gain confidence of others, and provokes strife in a subtle and invidious way.
   * Strategic Trolls: A very serious form of game, involving the production of an overall strategy that can take months or years to develop. It can also involve a number of people acting together in order to invade a list.
   * Domination Trolls: This is where the trollers' strategy extends to the creation and running of apparently bona-fide mailing lists.

Dealing with trolls is called troll spanking. Some people enjoy playing with trolls and will go troll hunting in search of fun.

Don't you hate having to deal with those darn pop-up windows? Even if you're using Firefox they still appear. That's when you play whack-a-mole to try to close them. These pop-ups sometimes generate new windows every time you close a previous one (webhydra), creating a situation similar to the action in the arcade game "Whack-a-Mole."

We often speak of something going viral; spreading like a virus. Information, gossip or rumor that spread this way is known as word-of-mouse. Originally a marketing term; viral marketing is a clever method in which the user actually advertises the product... t-shirts, mugs, mouse pads, etc. Online, it can work like this: you send an e-mail card, the receiver goes to the website to open it. You just did their marketing for them.

There is oh, so much more. I know that you have some to share. And don't forget to fill everyone in on your favorite acronyms, too!

Originally posted to The Way The Wind Blows on Sun Feb 08, 2009 at 05:40 PM PST.


What should we do next week?

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