Acronyms and Smilies

what do things like BFN and ;-) really mean? this is THE list!




Offsite see also:

what's an acronym, anyway?

An acronym is a set of initials which people use to save time.

It's interesting that the English language, around 500 years ago when it was first written down, was made up of simple, one-syllable words.
We still use those words.
Any short word that is spelled exactly the way it sounds, has been around that long.

e.g. dog, cat, man, cup, thin, hat, peg, (and of course our 'swear' words)

As our lives became more complicated, and we lived in larger populations and travelled, English inherited a lot of 'foreign' words, and we started to speak a lot faster, squashing words together.

e.g. don't (do not) use (old French) the assassin's (Arabic) cupboard (cup board)

Then, as we 'developed' 'organizations' (notice how the syllable count has gone up!), 'government' and 'bureaucracy' provided us with such long words and so many of them <sigh> that in our faster- and faster-speaking world, using only the initials of those words made them almost speakable again!

QANTAS - the Queensland And Northern Territory Air Service

although over time the original meaning might disappear and

PISA - Primary Industries of South Australia

they only make sense to a 'local' group of people, or even

CTAF - Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (pilots and flight controllers)

are a piece of jargon that only one occupation would understand.

Computing has a lot of 'jargon' acronyms, some becoming common

CPU - Central Processing Unit

and some that are purely technical

VLSI - Very Large Scale Integrated circuit

but from the beginning of computer networks like bulletin boards, to the beginning of the Internet itself, to today, ordinary people like you and me, typing messages onto a keyboard, have been saving themselves time (and having fun) by using acronyms for common phrases (groups of words) we type in

BFN - Bye For Now


and where do I use it?

The online community is friendly and inclusive (with the exception of the world's usual proportion of whackos) so people don't use these acronyms to confuse or exclude anyone else.
Lists of common acronyms are posted fairly regularly so newbies (new people) can share in the convenience and fun.
Now you will have a list, so when somebody asks plaintively, "What's LOL mean?", you can email them the list or give them the address for this webpage.

These hurried but usually friendly acronyms are used most in online live chat

(IRC - Internet Relay Chat
for information and software check out the Austnet IRC website)

and in email (electronic mail)

(for information and software check out the Eudora website)

and in posting to newsgroups

(for information and software check out an Introduction to 'Usenet' and newsgroups)

Use it wherever it suits you personally.


polite acronyms

hard to see any harm in any of these:

ADN Any day now
AFAIK As Far As I Know
AWGTHTGTTA? Are We Going To Have To Go Through This Again?
BFN Bye For Now
BBS Bulletin Board System
BTW By The Way
CU See You
CUL See You Later
CUL8R See you later
DIIK Damned if I know
FITB Fill In The Blank....
FWIW For What It's Worth
FYI For Your Information
GD&R Grinning, ducking & running (usually left at the end of a digging message)
GROK As in "I GROK" means thorough understanding. From R.A. Heinlin's book
GIWIST Gee I Wish I'd Said That
IC I See
IMHO In My Humble Opinion
IMNSHO In My Not So Humble Opinion
IOW In Other Words
JSNM Just Stark Naked Magic
L8R Later
LOL Laughing Out Loud
LTUAE Life, The Universe And Everything
OIC Oh, I see
OTOH On The Other Hand
POV Point Of View
ROTFL Rolling On The Floor Laughing
RSN Real Soon Now
RTM Read The Manual
SYSOP System Operator
TANJ There Ain't No Justice
TANSTAAFL There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
TPTB The Powers That Be
TTBOMK To The Best Of My Knowledge
TTFN Ta Ta For Now
TTUL Talk To You Later
WYSIWYG What you see is what you get (originally from DeskTop Publishing, DTP)


less polite acronyms

these might not always be accepted with a smile (or a smilie);
RTFM is well-known among computer people but I haven't seen any of the others:

AMF Goodbye (Adios Mutha-......)
FYBITS F..k You, Buddy, I'm The Sysop
LAB&TYD Life's A Bitch & Then You Die
NBFD No Big F***ing Deal
OFTPATHIRIO Oh F..k This Place And The Horse It Rode In On!
PFM Pure F***ing Magic
PITA Pain In The Arse
RTFM Read The F..k... Manual (from very frustrated tech support!)
WTF What the F***


and what's a smilie?

A smilie is a group of keyboard characters that make a recognizable shape of some kind, sideways (since we type across). The most common ones look like a smile :-)

what are they used for?

Communicating is much easier when you can see people's faces and hear their tone of voice.
Someone could say, "You're such a weirdo" in an affectionate voice, with a smile, and it's just a joke.
How do you let people on the 'Net know that you are joking or 'having a go', or a bit unsure but well-meaning?
You type in a smilie:

you're such a weirdo :)

I'd rather eat ground glass than use Word6 any longer :-(


common smilies

I've certainly seen these around:

:-) Smiling, happy face; don't take me too seriously
B-) Above, but poster (person writing) wears glasses or sunglasses
8-) Same as previous; also used to denote wide-eyed look
:-( Sad or angry face
;-) Winking happy face (something said tongue-in-cheek)(my personal favourite!)
:-)))) Either lots of grins or lots of chins!
:-P Tongue stuck out
:-b Same as previous
:-D Wider happy face (or mouth open too much)
(:-* Kiss...
(:-( Message indicating person is VERY sad...
@%&$%& You know what that means...
(-_-) Secret smile
@>--->---- A rose


more esoteric smilies

These are a lot of fun, but most people won't understand, so you could use them and put the meaning in as well.

#:-) :-) done by someone with sort of matted hair
@= Flame (angry message) about nuclear war, power or weapons follows (mushroom cloud)
:-o "Oh, nooooooo!" (a la Mr. Bill)
#:-o Same as previous
(:-) Messages dealing with bicycle helmets
<:-) Dumb questions
oo "Somebody's head-lights are on" messages
O>-<|= Messages of interest to women
|-( Late night messages
:^) Messages teasing people about their noses
:-{#} Messages teasing people about their braces
(:-# Message concerning something that shouldn't have been said...
(:-$ Message indicating person is ill...
(:-& Message indicating person is angry...
(:^( Message concerning people with broken noses
(:<) Message concerning blabber mouths
:-(=) Message about people with big teeth
&:-) Message from a person with curly hair
@:-) Message from a person with wavy hair
?-( Message about people with a black eye
*:* Message about fuzzy things
*:** Message about fuzzy people with a fuzzy mustache
%-) Message about people with broken glasses
+<:-| Message from a monk/nun...
{0-) Message from cyclops...
(:-D Message concerning another blabber mouth...
(:-|K- Formal message (love the bow tie)
B-) Message from Batman !!!
...---... S.O.S. (morse code: 3 short, 3 long, 3 short)
||*( Handshake offered
||*) Handshake accepted
<&&> Message concerning rubber chickens
>< >< Message about/to someone wearing argyle socks
2B|^2B Message about Shakespeare (programming language: | means "or" and ^ means "not"; gotta pay that one ;-)
<{:-)} Message in a bottle...
<:-)<<| Message from a space rocket...
(:-... Heart-breaking message...
<<<<(:-) Message from a hat sales-man...
(O--< A fishy message...
(8-) Message from a four-eye...
(:>-< Message from a thief: hands up!
:^{ User wears a mustache
{ User is Alfred Hitchcock
(.)(.) Ms. Dos (possibly a female mascot of the MS-DOS operating system)
()x() Ms. Dos with "Cross Your Heart" Bra



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