Glossary of internet terms and slang


1st Jan 2015 Technology

Glossary of internet terms and slang

How well do you understand internet slang? Do you know your TL;DR from your IMHO? If you've no idea what we're talking about - fear not! Our handy guide to internet slang will enlighten you.


TL;DR - 'Too Long; Didn't Read'

This is used most often on Reddit, the social network that in many ways is at the heart of the internet (some of the internet's most exciting content originates here and trickles down to sites such as Buzzfeed and the BBC). TL;DR is most often used by considerate internet users to summarise a lengthy text post they have made. In a typical example, a Redditor will type out a long story about how they fell off a horse then at the bottom add 'TL;DR - never drinking tequila again'. 


IMHO - 'In My Humble Opinion'

You could see this as a pre-emptive disclaimer. Generally it's used to indicate that whatever immediately follows is the poster's own personal opinion, rather than fact. However, IMHO is more often used in a sarcastic way, usually in disagreements. It's the online world's equivalent to saying 'No offence intended but…' before delivering a deeply offensive comment. See also AFAIK (As Far As I Know).


TBH - 'To Be Honest'


B4N - 'Bye For Now'

This is used whilst logging off from an instant messaging conversation.


NSFW - 'Not Safe For Work'

Another example of internet consideration. Adding a rude joke to a web forum? Make sure you add NSFW to the title. Anyone clicking into it will know it contains obscenities and if they are browsing the net at work they can avoid NSFW clicks so as not to fall foul of any office internet firewalls. Also used for posting rude images for the same reason.



Both refer to a person's romantic partner but whilst 'SO' stands for 'Special Other', a gender neutral term for lover, BAE actually means poop in Danish. For some cryptic historical reasons, internet users understood the term to be a Danish word of affection and it's now used in place of babe or sweetie. 


DD / DS / DH 

On some sites such as Mumsnet, you'll see these terms used to refer to family members. Respectively they stand for 'Darling Daughter', 'Darling Son' and 'Darling Husband'. See also PIL (Parents in Law), MIL (Mother In Law) and FIL (I'm sure you get the idea).


SMH - 'Shaking My Head'

This is a way to express dismay online, usually at the folly of another internet user.



Some of the most widely used (and misused) net slang terms, respectively these stand for Laugh Out Loud, Roll On Floor Laughing and Roll On The Ground Laughing. These are used to acknowledge another internet user's wit, however, in reality usually only a faint smile will have been engendered by it. Note: it's common to mistake LOL for 'Lots Of Love'. Your mum probably does this. Don't make this mistake; it's the internet equivalent of drinking from the finger bowl.