Are you left bewildered by the alphabet soup of abbreviatiosn and slang used on Twitter and other popular Internet watering holes? Lucky for you, the FBI had the same problem — and put together a document listing thousands of the most (and some of the least) popular terms out there. It makes for fun reading.
The document (PDF) describes itself to its users as "useful in your work or for keeping up with your children and/or grandchildren." It is the result of a Freedom of Information Request request filed by MuckRock, an organization that promotes government transparency and accountability.
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Here is a small sampling of the entries, QFP (quoted for posterity):
- GPOY: gratuitous picture of yourself
- PDBAZ: please don't be a zombie
- BU2M: been up to much?
- MAWOY: may angels watch over you
- SWAMBO: she who always must be obeyed
As you can see, it's not all the commonplace BRBs and LOLs — but just because someone used GNSTDLTBBB once (good night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite) doesn't mean it's popular with the kids. That said, just because you haven't seen it before doesn't mean it isn't in constant use. Niche communities develop shorthand all their own and you might never hear SPF (strictly platonic friend) outside of, say, a dating site.
Whatever the real-world frequency of these thousands of abbreviations, it's certainly entertaining to browse through them.
First published June 17 2014, 6:00 PM
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer at NBC News; he started his role in April of 2013. Coldewey is responsible for original reporting on a number of tech topics, such as photography, biotechnology, and Internet policy.
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Coldewey joined NBCNews.com from TechCrunch, where he was an editor covering a similarly wide variety of content and industries. His personal website is coldewey.cc.