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SMS Abbreviations: List of 100 Most Common Abbreviations in English

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In this page, we’ll explore some of the most widely used SMS abbreviations in English, along with their meanings and examples. This will help us improve our texting skills, stay in the loop with native speakers, and make our overall language-learning journey more enjoyable and efficient. So, let’s dive in and start discovering these handy text shortcuts!

Understanding SMS Abbreviations

Origins of SMS Language

Back in the early days of mobile phones, text messaging, or SMS (Short Message Service), quickly became a popular method of communication. To make messages quicker and more efficient, people began using abbreviations and acronyms. This led to the creation of what we know today as SMS language. It’s important for us to understand SMS language because it has become a major part of how we communicate in the digital age.

Some of the first abbreviations to gain popularity were simple contractions of common words, such as “u” for “you” or “2” for “to.” As texting became even more widespread, new abbreviations were continuously added to the mix, many of which we still use today.

sms abbreviations

SMS Vocabulary

There is a vast array of SMS abbreviations that have been developed over the years. To help you navigate this ever-evolving vocabulary, we’ve listed some of the most common abbreviations below:

  • ASAP: As Soon As Possible
  • BRB: Be Right Back
  • BTW: By The Way
  • CU: See You
  • FWIW: For What It’s Worth
  • IDK: I Don’t Know
  • IMHO: In My Humble Opinion
  • LOL: Laughing Out Loud
  • NP: No Problem
  • OMG: Oh My God
  • OT: Off Topic
  • TTYL: Talk To You Later
  • TY: Thank You
  • WTF: What The F***?

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it should give you a good starting point in building your SMS language skills. We hope that as you familiarize yourself with these terms, you’ll find it easier to understand and engage in digital conversations with friends, family, and colleagues.

Most Common SMS Abbreviations

In the digital age, we often find ourselves sending texts to communicate with our friends, family, and colleagues. To make our messages more concise and easy to understand, we use a variety of SMS abbreviations. In this section, we’ll share some of the most common abbreviations you might come across while texting in English.

LOL – Laugh out loud. This is used to express amusement or that something is funny. For example: “I just saw a hilarious video, LOL!

BRB – Be right back. When you need to step away for a moment, you can let the person know using this abbreviation. For example: “I need to get my charger, BRB.

BTW – By the way. This is used to add extra information or change the topic of conversation. For example: “BTW, did you hear about the new movie release?”

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IDK – I don’t know. When you’re unsure about something, you can use this abbreviation. For example: “IDK what time the event starts tonight.

Here are more common SMS abbreviations you might find useful:

  • TTYL – Talk to you later
  • HMU – Hit me up
  • FWIW – For what it’s worth
  • IMO – In my opinion
  • IMHO – In my humble opinion
  • TBA – To be announced
  • TGIF – Thank goodness it’s Friday
  • TBH – To be honest
  • TBF – To be frank
  • RN – Right now
  • QOTD – Quote of the day
  • OOTD – Outfit of the day

These abbreviations are helpful in making our text conversations more efficient and enjoyable. As you continue to improve your English, incorporating these common SMS abbreviations into your texting vocabulary will help you communicate more effectively with native speakers. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to use these abbreviations in your daily text conversations!

More Complex SMS Abbreviations

In addition to the common and simple SMS abbreviations you’re likely familiar with, such as “LOL” (laugh out loud) and “BTW” (by the way), there are numerous more complex and less well-known abbreviations that can enhance your texting experience. In this section, we’ll dive into some of these unique abbreviations to help make your messages more efficient and engaging.

One such example is “ICYMI,” which stands for “In Case You Missed It.” This abbreviation is perfect for sharing important news or updates that someone might have overlooked. Another is “YSK,” which means “You Should Know,” often used when providing vital or helpful information to the recipient.

For situations where you need to express your emotions, you can use “NMU” (Not Much, You?) to convey a lack of strong feelings or “smh” (shaking my head) to show your disbelief or disappointment. In more urgent cases, “AA” (Action Alert) can be used to notify someone of an immediate action they should take.

When discussing plans or schedules, abbreviations like “TBD” (To Be Determined) and “EOM” (End of Message) can save time and make your message more concise. Likewise, “HTH” (Hope This Helps) is a great way to wrap up a message where you’ve provided assistance or advice.

Here are a few more complex SMS abbreviations to keep in mind:

  • IRL: In Real Life
  • AFAIK: As Far As I Know
  • FOMO: Fear of Missing Out
  • LMK: Let Me Know
  • TL;DR: Too Long; Didn’t Read

When incorporating these abbreviations in your texts, remember that not everyone may be familiar with them, so be prepared to clarify their meanings if needed. By utilizing these more complex SMS abbreviations, you can streamline your messages, convey more information in less time, and make your conversations more engaging. Happy texting!

Special Characters in SMS Language

Use of Symbols

In SMS language, we often use special characters and symbols to convey meaning more quickly and efficiently. Some common symbols used in texting include:

  • @: Used to mention someone in a message or social media post, e.g., “@John: Great job on the presentation.”
  • #: Hashtags help categorize messages for easy searching and connection with others discussing the same topic, e.g., “#ThrowbackThursday.”
  • &: A shorthand for ‘and’ in messages, e.g., “We went shopping & had lunch together.”
  • %: Represents the word ‘percent’ to indicate a portion or rate, e.g., “There’s a 50% chance of rain today.”
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Using these symbols can shorten messages and make it more comfortable for the recipient to understand the context quickly.

Emoticons and Emojis

Emoticons and emojis are another essential aspect of SMS language. They help express emotions, feelings, or reactions in digital conversations. It’s easy for us to include emotion in face-to-face interactions, but communicating those emotions through text can be tricky. That’s where emoticons and emojis come in!

  • Emoticons are combinations of keyboard characters that resemble facial expressions, e.g., :-);-):-(. They bring a touch of emotion to plain text messages, making communication more engaging.
  • Emojis are small digital images or icons that express emotions, ideas, and various other sentiments. They have become increasingly popular with the widespread use of smartphones. Examples include:
    • 😂 (laughing with tears)
    • 😍 (heart eyes)
    • 💪 (strong/muscle arm)
    • 🚀 (rocket)

Using emoticons and emojis can enhance our messages and make them more relatable, helping convey our emotions and reactions effectively. So next time you’re crafting a text or message, don’t shy away from using special characters or emojis to add some life and emotion to your words!

List of SMS Abbreviations in English

  • 2moro = Tomorrow
  • & = And
  • 2 = Two, to
  • 2DAY = Today
  • 2nte = Tonight
  • AEAP = As Early as Possible
  • ALAP = As Late as Possible
  • ASAP = As Soon as Possible
  • ASL = Age / Sex / Location?
  • B = Be
  • B3 = Blah, Blah, Blah
  • B4 = Before
  • B4YKI = Before You Know it
  • BF = Boyfriend
  • BFF = Best Friends, Forever
  • BM&Y = Between Me and You
  • BRB = Be Right Back
  • BRO = Brother
  • BRT = Be Right There
  • BT = But
  • BTAM = Be that as it May
  • C = See
  • C-P = Sleepy
  • CTN = Cannot talk now
  • CUL = See you later
  • CUS = See You Soon
  • CWOT = Complete Waste of Time
  • CYT = See You Tomorrow
  • D8 = Date
  • E123 = Easy as 1, 2, 3
  • EM? = Excuse Me?
  • EOD = End of Day
  • F2F = Face to Face
  • F8 = Fate
  • FC = Fingers Crossed
  • FOAF = Friend of a Friend
  • GF = Girlfriend
  • GR8 = Great
  • HAK = Hugs and Kisses
  • HAND = Have a nice day
  • HRU = How are you
  • IC = I see
  • IDC = I Don’t Care
  • IDK = I Don’t Know
  • ILU / ILY = I Love You
  • IMU = I Miss You
  • IRL = In Real Life
  • J/K = Just Kidding
  • JC = Just Checking
  • JTLYK = Just to Let You Know
  • KFY = Kiss for You
  • KMN = Kill Me Now
  • KPC = Keeping Parents Clueless
  • L8R = Later
  • LOL = Laughing out loud
  • LTNS = Long time no see
  • M8 = Mate
  • MoF = Male or Female
  • MTFBWY = May the Force be with You
  • MU = I miss you
  • MYOB = Mind Your Own Business
  • NAZ = Name, Address, ZIP
  • NC = No Comment
  • NIMBY = Not in my Backyard
  • NM = Never Mind / Nothing Much
  • NP = No Problem
  • NSFW = Not Safe for Work
  • NTIM = Not that it Matters
  • NVM = Never Mind
  • OATUS = On a totally Unrelated Subject
  • OIC = Oh, I See
  • OMW = On My Way
  • OTL = Out to Lunch
  • OTP = On the Phone
  • OG = Original Gangster
  • P911 = Parent Alert
  • PAL = Parents are Listening
  • PAW = Parents are Watching
  • PIR = Parent in Room
  • PLS = Please
  • POS = Parent over Shoulder
  • PROP(S) = Proper Respect / Proper Recognition
  • QT = Cutie
  • RN = Right Now
  • RU = Are You
  • RUOK = Are you ok?
  • SEP = Someone else’s Problem
  • SIS = Sister
  • SITD = Still in the Dark
  • SLAP = Sounds like a Plan
  • SMIM = Send Me an Instant Message
  • SO = Significant Other
  • TMI = Too Much Information
  • U = You
  • UR = Your / You are
  • W8 = Wait
  • WB = Welcome Back
  • WYCM = Will You Call Me?
  • WYWH = Wish You Were Here
  • XOXOXOX = Hugs, Kisses, …
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SMS Abbreviations | Infographic

sms abbreviations

sms abbreviations

Frequently Asked Questions

What are common texting abbreviations in English?

There are many common texting abbreviations used in English SMS and chats, which help convey messages quickly and efficiently. Some frequently used ones include:

  • TY/TQ: thank you
  • thx/tnx: thanks
  • TIA: thanks in advance
  • TGIF: thank God it’s Friday
  • HB2U: happy birthday to you
  • TTYL: talk to you later
  • GR8: great
  • HMU: hit me up (get in contact with me)

Of course, this is just a small selection, and there are many more abbreviations you might encounter in English text messages.

How can students understand SMS shorthand?

For students learning English, understanding SMS shorthand can be a challenge. However, we recommend taking some time to familiarize yourself with the most common abbreviations, which can be found on websites like Langster, SimpleTexting, or Merriam-Webster. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. Remember that context can also help you decipher the meaning of an unknown abbreviation.

How do abbreviations differ between standard and casual English in texts?

In standard English texts, abbreviations are often used for efficiency and speed, while in casual texts, they can also express a more informal tone. For instance, in a more formal text message, you might see abbreviations like “FYI” (for your information) or “ASAP” (as soon as possible). In casual English texts, you may encounter playful or slang abbreviations, such as “LOL” (laughing out loud) or “BRB” (be right back).

What are some amusing or slang abbreviations used in texting?

Texting in English can be fun and lively, with many amusing or slang abbreviations that add character and personality to your messages. Some of these include:

  • ROFL: rolling on the floor laughing
  • IDK: I don’t know
  • BFF: best friends forever
  • LMK: let me know
  • IMHO: in my humble opinion
  • YOLO: you only live once

These slang abbreviations can put a smile on your face and make texting in English an enjoyable experience. Remember to use them sparingly and with people who understand the informal nature of the abbreviation.


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Evangelina dela Cruz

Friday 17th of July 2020

Very helpful.

Jessic Lasxon

Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

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Wednesday 17th of February 2021

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Tuesday 3rd of March 2020

i agree


Thursday 8th of August 2019

Really helpful n thnx for improving my English love it

Amit Kumar

Friday 22nd of March 2019

Thanks for improving my English studies online