YOU know what it means when someone LOLs, or says a person slipped into their DMs.
But would you know what your friends were talking about if they told you that your message was TLDR, or they insisted something happened and added ISTG?
The abbreviations are two of the 20 most confusing used in text messages, a new study has found.
The research, from mobile phone retailer Fonehouse, identified 200 of the most commonly used abbreviations on social media, and analysed Google search volumes to discover how many people are searching for the meaning of each abbreviation.
They found that POV – "point of view" – topped the list, with 49,000 searches for "POV meaning" and 29,000 for "what does POV mean?" in the past 12 months.
However, the abbreviation is quickly becoming one of the most commonly used on social media, with a staggering 931.8 billion views of videos using the #POV hashtag.
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Next on the list is SMH – "shake my head" – which is most often used when someone is disappointed, doesn't approve of something or doesn't believe a statement.
If you don't know what ASMR means, you're certainly not the only one.
It actually stands for Autonomous sensory meridian response, which means the tingling sensation people get when they watch stimulating videos.
Anything from whispering, tapping fingernails on a table or even someone screwing up paper can trigger an ASMR response.
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WYLL is at number four in the countdown, and means "what you look like".
It's often used when people are having a conversation via text messages or direct messages – especially if they haven't met face to face before.
It is usually responded to by the receiver sending a photograph or video of themselves to the person who asked.
An NPC is a "non playable character".
The term initially came from video games, and referred to a character not controlled by the player.
But it's developed into meaning a person with the inability to think for themselves.
If something is NSFW, it means it's "not safe for work", and generally contains something explicit or offensive – something you wouldn't want to open on your work computer.
Most people know the next one – FOMO.
It means the "fear of missing out", and refers to the anxiety people have that a more exciting event is happening elsewhere.
Next up in the rundown is ISTG – "I swear to God" – and is used to express the severity of a situation, exasperation or shock.
LMAO is number nine on the rundown and is effectively just an updated version of LOL.
But instead of "laughing out loud", you're instead "laughing my a*s off".
At number 10 is ICL – "I can't lie".
It's most often used when someone wants to express sincerity, such as before making a deep confession, or when sharing personal information.
You probably know what PDA means, but some people don't, hence it's next in the rundown.
It actually means "public display of affection", such as when people passionately kiss in public.
If someone asks you to "HMU", they're asking you to "hit me up" – i.e. send them a message or give them a call.
And if you saw someone referred to as the "GOAT", you'd be forgiven for thinking it's an insult.
In fact, it's the complete opposite, and actually means the "greatest of all time".
As an example, people might describe Muhammad Ali as the boxing GOAT.
Next on the list is PU, which means "pop up".
And it's not to do with a pop up store, or a pop up window on your computer – instead it's someone asking you to message them.
NRS is next, meaning "no replies", and is usually used when someone is going to be unavailable for a period of time – such as when they're about to catch a flight.
If someone follows something with "IG", it usually means "I guess" – indicating they're not sure about something.
However, this one has a double meaning as it can also be used to refer to Instagram.
The context of the phrase should be able to tell you which meaning it's referring to.
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It refers to a Brazilian Butt Lift – a popular, but often dangerous, plastic surgery procedure that involves taking fat from elsewhere on someone's body to inject into their bottom.
The next was a popular one during the Covid-19 pandemic – if someone says they're "WFH", it means they're "working from home".
At number 19 on the list is TLDR – which stands for "too long, didn't read".
It's usually used by someone in a derogatory manner, as they're referring to an online post or message that was literally too long to read.
And last on the list is the aforementioned DM.
If someone is sending you a DM, they're sending you a "direct message" – usually on Instagram or TikTok.
Researchers used SEO software Ahrefs to find the average monthly number of Google searches in the UK for queries into the meaning of each abbreviation using 8 different wording terms.
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Using POV as an example: there were ‘POV meaning’, ‘what does POV mean’, ‘POV abbreviation meaning’, ‘what does POV abbreviation mean’, ‘what is POV short for’, ‘what is the meaning of POV’, ‘what is POV meaning’ and ‘POV meaning in text’.
The search volumes of each wording was then added together, before the abbreviations were ranked from highest to lowest.
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