The top 100 most confusing text abbreviations deciphered

OFC we’re NGL, we have FOMO BC YOLO so FWIW we’re gonna learn this list, and we HTH you HF.

How many do you know?

Millennials and Gen Z are continually evolving, implementing ways to shorten the words they use while texting or crafting their social media posts, which has led to text message abbreviations and internet acronyms bombarding our chat rooms and social media feeds.

Hence, intrigued to find out which texting abbreviations make people scratch their heads most, extracted global search volume data from online analytics tool Ahrefs for 100 abbreviations, to divulge which abbreviations are the hardest to decipher as online users turn to Google for clarification.

How many do you know?

               Top 100 Most Googled Text Abbreviations Worldwide

Text AbbreviationsAverage Global Monthly Search Volumes
SMH (Shake my head)694,000
LMAO (Laughing my ass off)325,000
TBH (To be honest)291,000
LOL (Laughing out loud)306,000
HMU (Hit me up)207,000
FOMO (Fear of missing out)264,000
NGL (Not gonna lie)234,000
DM (Direct message)218,000
AFK (Away from keyboard)181,000
BAE (Before anyone else)194,000
GOAT (Greatest of all time)177,000
IMO (In my opinion)180,000
NSFW (Not safe for work)117,000
OFC (Of course)127,000
BBL (Be back later)140,000
TFW (That feeling when)141,000
TLDR (Too long didn’t read)139,000
FYI (For your information)148,000
POV (Point of view)81,000
YOLO (You only live once)119,000
IKR (I know right)125,000
TTYL (Talk to you later)95,000
IRL (In real life)118,000
ASAP (As soon as possible)120,000
BRB (Be right back)107,000
IYKYK (If you know you know)103,000
STFU (Shut the fxxk up)113,000
OOTD (Outfit of the day)105,000
NVM (Nevermind)96,000
BTW (By the way)82,000
IDK (Don’t know)80,000
AKA (Also known as)88,000
DIY (Do it yourself)98,000
ROFL (Rolling on the floor laughing)92,000
FTW (For the win)84,000
TMI (Too much information)84,000
TBD (To be decided)82,000
IIRC (If I recall correctly)82,000
LMK (Let me know)71,000
N/A (Not available)69,000
ATM (At the moment)74,000
TBT (Throwback Thursday)70,000
BC (Because)63,000
TGIF (Thanks god it’s Friday)64,000
WDYM (What do you mean)65,000
ICYMI (In case you missed it)62,000
BFF (Best friends forever)61,000
NP (No problem)38,000
RN (Right now)43,000
EOD (End of day)49,000
TBA (To be announced)41,000
NBD (No big deal)42,000
TIA (Thanks in advance)37,000
FWIW (For what it’s worth)43,000
ILY (I love you)29,000
XOXO (Hugs & Kisses)18,000
IDC (I don’t care)39,000
MFW (My face when)35,000
FAQ (Frequently asked questions)33,000
WCW (Woman crush Wednesday)29,000
MCM (Man crush Monday)27,000
TBF (To be fair)29,000
AMA (Ask me anything)26,000
HBU (How about you)21,000
IMHO (In my honest opinion)25,000
AFAIK (As far as I know)25,000
CYA (See ya)20,000
OMW (On my way)18,000
WTF (What the fxxk)8,900
FTFY (Fixed that for you)19,000
OOO (Out of office)18,000
JK (Just kidding)16,000
EOM (End of message)12,000
NTH (Nice to have)7,100
GL (Good luck)7,900
PPL (People)8,600
OMG (Oh my god)8,000
THX (Thanks)7,100
CU (See you)6,000
HTH (Hope this helps)5,100
IMU (I miss you)4,700
MRW (My reaction when)4,900
PTB (Please text back)5,300
HF (Have fun)4,500
FBF (Flashback Friday)4,700
DAE (Does anyone else)3,800
OTOH (On the other hand)4,300
GG (Good game)3,300
SSDD (Same stuff different day)3,000
SOML (Story of my life)2,600
IOW (In other words)1,600
GR8 (Great)1,600
QOTD (Quote of the day)800
JSYK (Just so you know)800
JIC (Just in case)800
WYWH (Wish you were here)400
B4N (Bye for now)150
HIFW (How I feel when)40
AAMOF (As a matter of fact)40
2NITE (Tonight)10

SMH (Shake my head)secured the top spot with a staggering 897,600 average global monthly searches asking for its meaning. It was added to the Urban Dictionary back in 2004, defining it as a response to situations one finds ridiculous or stupid, which has garnered over 25,000 upvotes since then.

In second place with over 400,000 average global monthly searches is the abbreviation LMAO (Laughing My A** Off). Many might have already come across this ubiquitous acronym often accompanying humorous messages and memes, but simply have no clue what the alphabets refer to exactly. 

The third most confounding is TBH (To Be Honest), leading to an average google search of 398,200 monthly globally. Also, seeing a sharp increase of 300% in search interest over the past 12 months based on Google Trends, the abbreviation GOAT (Greatest of All Time) has translated into 215,700 average monthly searches worldwide for its meaning, positioning it in 11th place. 

Following the new norm of people working from home since the pandemic, sitting in 9th and 15th place, are the abbreviations AFK (Away from Keyboard)and BBL (Be back later) with average global searches of 266,600 and 166,100 per month respectively. Often used in the gaming terrain as well, this is to let whoever at the other end of the screen know that you will be temporarily inactive.

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