Top 10 NSFW Twitter Abbreviations

by Alexander Howard on January 25, 2009

Suspended Owl? WTF!

Suspended Owl? WTF!

My first post for Touchbase, Top 15 Twitter Acronyms, enjoyed many kind RTs on Twitter and earned terrific comments. @stevegarfield, @melissapierce, @gregverdino and @jeffcutler brainstormed a new one for sending a your own tweet again: RERUN or abbreviated, RR. @LEMills was even kind enough to correct my grammar: those were mostly abbreviations, not acronyms.

(There’s a mix of both below.)

The most clear and concise feedback, however, came from @rands: “No WTF FTL: http://bit.ly/r61l ” As Laura wrote when she posted his Tweet in the comments, ‘A true point made by many… there are lotsa lotsa lotsa acronyms with F in them that we did not include.

This is the ‘Part II’ post that she suggested. As you might gather from the title, this post may well be NSFW, though only if explanations for smutty abbreviations could set off your obscenity filters.

There won’t be any pictures or videos that will get you in trouble. In fact, my hope in writing this is to SAVE you from trouble. Clicking on the wrong link in a Tweet could land you in a world of trouble if you then land on a pornography website from a work machine.

For that reason alone, knowing that NSFW = Not Safe For Work is crucial. Following are nine more NSFW abbreviations that you’ll find on Twitter, along with chat rooms, IM, email headlines and social networking forums. Many of them are on the list of chat and text messaging abbreviations I updated last year. (I know their inclusion is one of the reasons that page has stayed popular.) They’re listed in order of frequency of use, as measured by TweetVolume.

WTF = What the F–k. As ThinkGeek wrote, ‘it’s not always possible to speak your mind on the Internet. So cyber-culture has developed a whole new way to curse and blaspheme without necessarily conjuring up the negativity associated with the whole phrases themselves.’ And as @rands pointed out, WTF should have been in the top 15 overall list. It’s a instant, concise expression of incredulity and critique.

OMFG = Oh My F___ing God. Like OMG, only stronger. The expression is nowhere near as common as WTF but expresses much the same sentiment.

LMAO = Laughing My Ass Off. Also LMFAO, for special emphasis. This comes up a fair bit, no doubt because there is plenty to laugh about on Twitter and in the wide world.

WTH = What the Hell. This expresses the same sentiment as WTF. Whether it’s stronger or not depends on how you feel about Hell or f—ing.

SOB = Son of a B–ch. At least, it used to until @lizstrauss rebranded SOB as Successful and Outstanding Blogger. As it turns out, being an SOB on Twitter might just be a good thing.

NFW = No F—ing Way. As in, ‘no way, no how, not ever’ or a stronger version of OMG. @markpinc was surprised about a a Bay Bridge closing, for instance. As they say, SH (s–t happens).

STFU = Shut The F–k Up. Also STHU, with Hell standing in. This could be used as a stronger OMG — but it can also be a precursor to someone blocking an account on Twitter.

FUBAR = F–ked Up Beyond All Repair. FUBAR originated with the US Army, where many situations ended up FUBAR’ed. According to Wikipedia, ‘electronics engineers report that SNAFU and FUBAR were used before World War II by repairmen sent out to repair phone booths. You might remember it from Saving Private Ryan.

SNAFU = Situation Normal All F–ked Up. SNAFU, referenced above, is another geeky notation of resignation to an ugly reality, industry event or other news.

Bonus: RTFM = Read The F–king Manual. This is the classic complaint of a sysadmin or help desk associate to colleagues. On the Web, it’s about reading the FAQ (RTFF) or the question (RTFQ). I wouldn’t be surprised if reading the tweet (RTFT) showed up soon, either.

There are, of course, many other NSFW abbreviations that include dirty words, including those for the 7 words you can’t say on television. If you know of another one that is often used on Twitter that everyone should know about, let us all know in the comments.

Other abbreviations are more likely found in chat rooms than on Twitter, like TDTM (Talk Dirty To Me), RUH (Are You Horny), NIFOC (Naked in Front of Computer). Given that there are a growing list of porn stars that Twitter, that may change. And yes, that last link is NSFW!

Alexander Howard is a Cambridge-based technology editor for a B2B IT media company. Until this December, he was the associate editor for WhatIs.com, the online IT encyclopedia.


{ 4 trackbacks }

Будьте галантны и люди к вам потянуться — ShutLine - Блог Юрия Ширяева
February 28, 2009 at 3:34 pm
Будьте галантны и люди к вам…
March 1, 2009 at 3:39 am
Top 50 Twitter Acronyms, Abbreviations and Initialisms « digiphile
June 11, 2009 at 1:57 pm
7 Most popular Twitter hashtags in #WesternMA — Weye.org
February 18, 2010 at 10:59 am

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Tre January 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Thanks for the clarifications…most I was familiar with…I didn’t know chat rooms etc existed.
Your thoughts on venting and how it moves social media forward? I’m not seein it. My experience: venting satisfies for a time. Doesn’t help build forward though….creates divisive camps….isn’t always motivated by solution driven minds. And yet at times helps someone sift through anger.
What are your thoughts on the staying power? the ability for that energy to be directed/redirected toward solution oriented motions? just askin and just sayin….I’ve been helped much through venting for the simple need to just get much off my thoughts…but looking back, it didn’t do much to heal my heart, the anger, the po’d ness the whatever….
Feelings matter. Opinions matter. But I’d offer to the extent they allow you to get passed initial angst to problem solve….Thoughts?

Gil Yehuda January 25, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I’d like to suggest the alternate NSFW = Not Suitable For Work. Why? Because “safe” implies that someone is sneaking to these sites and hoping to avoid getting caught – thus he would look for “safe” sites, and want to be warned about unsafe sites. Unsafe meaning, you’ll get caught. Although accurate, the word “safe” conveys more to the story than needed. However, the word “suitable” conveys the notion that the site is not the kind of site that most of us associate with work (with the exception of those who work in certain industries). It’s more neutral, and just as accurate.

But you raise our attention to a barrier that business have with the Internet, with ungoverned sites, and with the way young people talk/text in ‘leet-script”. There is plenty of stuff out there that businesses don’t want to be associated with. It’s not just the crass stuff either. There’s hate, gambling, and deception too — on Twitter as well as other social networking sites. And this poses a serious challenge for many businesses. In theory, the social contract enforces behaviors, but it takes time for the social reputation mechanism to classify suitability groups. Without a “v-chip” program like we have in TVs we’ll see the CIOs read NSFW to mean “this place is not suitable for us.”

I’m not saying that I’m in favor of the “V-chip” approach (so very “1.0″). A better solution might be an NSFW rating on each account (that the community can vote on), which would allow us to filter users and content. But it should not surprise anyone that many business continue to block Twitter et al. Speaking of which, thanks for the list of porn stars with Twitter (or, Twitter without the “w”) accounts .

Vicki January 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Most of the time you try to figure out what these mean within some context but unless you know who is in the conversation and how they write it is difficult.
Hopefully the attention seekers that utilize the form of acronyms you have listed will begin to be unfollowed and may get the picture. Only hurts them in the long run! Thanks for putting this together!

Adam Cohen January 25, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Great list, I can’t think of anyone who has pulled something like this together. One call out though – FUBAR appeared at least once before Saving Private Ryan – I distinctly recall it being used in 1989′s Tango & Cash, and referring to F’ed Up Beyond All Recognition. There are a lot of other great ones like BOHICA on wikipedia too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FUBAR

Vicki January 25, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Adam – The Saving Private Ryan reference was not meant to imply that the acronym originated in that movie! As the rest of the paragraph points out, this is a pre-WWII term (taken over by Computer users in the 70′s :-)

Note also that the F in FUBAR and SNAFU can just as easily stand for “fouled” (SFW) and the F in RTFM is usually (sardonically :) translated as “Fine”.

Daniel January 25, 2009 at 5:11 pm

One more point (on the acronyms/abbreviations front): if the “acronym” isn’t pronounceable (like “SNAFU” is), it’s not an acronym, it’s an initialism.

I’m a fan of RTFM’s cousin, STFW, “search the f—ing Web.”

Mike Russell - @planetrussell January 25, 2009 at 6:17 pm

In the midst of all of the coarser stuff, don’t forget about FTW – For The Win.

Roylan January 25, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Thanks for the list. Haven’t viewed your Top 15 Twitter Acronyms yet, will have to do so. Think it’s a shame that we have descended so far into the gutter that so many people are using such foul language. And these are not ignorant people. Used to be a time when people shunned such language as “street language” not to be used by the self-respecting and other respecting people. Nowadays, not so. One hears it everywhere. In this sense the deaf are blessed.

Alexander Howard January 25, 2009 at 6:35 pm

@Tre Given that millions of people are using Twitter to review experiences, products, businesses or the actions of others, I’m cautiously optimistic about the ability of snarky abbreviations to express approval or dissatisfaction without actually descending into blatant obscenity. You’ll find plenty of that anyway, of course! Individual venting can allow some catharsis; collective venting can be powerful, directed towards a business, like the #motrinmoms or @comcastcares case studies show.

@gilyehuda Wow, that’s thoughtful. Do you think much about the implications of Web 2.0 platforms for business often? ;) I don’t think you’ll see ‘Suitable’ replacing ‘Safe’ in general usage any time soon but the thrust of your argument is important. As Twitter evolves, along with similar enterprise microsharing tools behind the firewall, embedding the ability to collectively tag and filter the content of other users will be crucial.

As you note, ‘In theory, the social contract enforces behaviors, but it takes time for the social reputation mechanism to classify suitability groups.’

Simply unsubscribing from another user because of a curse may not be satisfactory; I might prefer, for instance, to simply have that account not show up in my tweetstream if my smartphone or PC detects that I’m on the corporate network. If Twitter incorporates more collective tagging of tweets, perhaps with a shade on ‘favoriting’ that allows a G/PG/R/X rating, perhaps that might evolve.

Oh, and ‘Twitter without the w’? LMAO, Gil. :)

Parky January 31, 2009 at 8:44 am

Heartbroken you don’ t have FFS – For F__ks Sake

@parkylondon

Chris February 19, 2009 at 4:47 pm

It’s amazing how short our vocabulary can become when required!

:)

Ozh February 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Like, saying “WTF” is considered “NSFW” in your part of the universe? LOL at this article, I must say.

Eric Weaver April 29, 2009 at 12:49 am

Don’t forget CTFO – “chill the f___ out.” I see that one a lot among my kids’ friends.

Prafuldass July 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm

FGT – Fuckingly great Tutorial!

Dmovelle November 3, 2009 at 10:45 am

I think that F word is used way too often. Surely the dictionary is full of words which you can use to express yourself.

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