50 Text Abbreviations and How to Use Them [UPDATED]

50 Text Abbreviations and How to Use Them [UPDATED]

Text Message Abbreviations

Updated April 27, 2020

Text abbreviations almost deserve their own dictionary. It seems like there are countless ways to abbreviate words in English text messages—some of them common and others more off-the-wall. With every generation, the text slang changes and a whole new set of abbreviations need to be learned, especially if you want to stay relevant in your marketing messages because even companies use abbreviations in business texts. If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering, “What does btw mean in a text?” or “Is it appropriate to say LOL right now?” you’re not alone.

Here’s a guide to text abbreviations and ideas on how you can use them to improve your mass texting and SMS marketing.

50 Text abbreviations and acronyms to remember

Here’s a cheat sheet of SMS abbreviations to make sure you’re never stumped for something to say.

Common text abbreviations

  1. ROFL: Rolling on floor laughing
  2. STFU: Shut the *swear word!* up
  3. ICYMI: In case you missed it
  4. TL;DR: Too long, didn’t read
  5. LMK: Let me know
  6. NVM: Nevermind
  7. TGIF: Thank goodness it’s Friday
  8. TBH: To be honest
  9. TBF: To be frank
  10. RN: Right now
  11. QOTD: Quote of the day
  12. OOTD: Outfit of the day
  13. BRB: Be right back
  14. BTW: By the way
  15. LOL: Laugh out loud
  16. TTYL: Talk to you later
  17. HMU: Hit me up
  18. FWIW: For what it’s worth
  19. IMO: In my opinion
  20. IMHO: In my humble opinion
  21. IDK: I don’t know
  22. TBA: To be announced
  23. TBD: To be decided

Business text abbreviations

  1. EOD: End of day
  2. FAQ: Frequently asked question
  3. AKA: Also known as
  4. ASAP: As soon as possible
  5. DIY: Do it yourself
  6. LMGTFY: Let me Google that for you
  7. NP: No problem
  8. N/A: Not applicable or not available
  9. OOO: Out of office
  10. TIA: Thanks in advance

Romantic text abbreviations

  1. ILY: I love you
  2. MCM: Man crush Monday
  3. WCW: Woman crush Wednesday
  4. BF: Boyfriend
  5. GF: Girlfriend

Text message marketing acronyms and jargon

  1. CTA: Call to action
  2. UGC: User-generated content
  3. SMS: Short message service
  4. MMS: Multimedia messaging service
  5. RCS: Rich communication services
  6. ROI: Return on investment
  7. CTR: Click-through rate
  8. 5G: 5th generation, meaning the newest generation of mobile communications
  9. Text List: The list of numbers you have legally obtained permission to text
  10. Text to Join: A method people can use to opt into your text list
  11. Text to Win: A contest you run through text message
  12. Text to Landline: When you send or receive text messages on a landline phone

How to use text abbreviations

Sometimes, text abbreviations just make sense. They’re especially helpful when you’re trying to keep your texts within a certain character limit, or when you’re using very common abbreviations that just have no need to be written out. Using an abbreviation in the right way can also help you break through to consumers and speak to them in a natural way if you’re reaching out for ecommerce marketing initiatives or other business purposes. 

Here are examples of where text abbreviations fit natural within the body of the message:

Example 1:

Thank you! Your customer service request has been logged. A specialist will reach out by EOD.

Example 2:

ICYMI: Storewide sale this weekend only. Show this text at the counter for an additional 10% off. BTW, store hours are 9AM-7PM Sat and Sun. 

Example 3:

TGIF! Celebrate the start of the weekend at [RESTAURANT NAME]. Show this text for two-for-one appetizers.

These are merely a few examples of how you can use a text abbreviation to establish a rapport with your customers when sending automated text messages. No matter how you decide to use abbreviations, try to keep these guidelines in mind when you’re crafting your texts.

1. Keep it simple

Because text slang and abbreviations can be personal, you don’t want to get caught trying to use abbreviations that are too far off the beaten path when you’re sending business text messages. Sticking with the classics, like using BTW to say by the way, is always a good idea. Also, don’t try to cram too many letters into one abbreviation. Abbreviations can quickly become hard to follow, so keep it simple.

2. Stay professional

Definitely avoid abbreviations with foul language in them when you’re sending business text messages. It’s already hard to convey tone through text, adding edgy abbreviations merely complicates this task. Play it safe and stick to family-friendly slang.

3. Add media into your texts

The great thing about text message marketing is you’re not limited to only text! By sending an MMS message you can actually attach an image or a GIF. If you’re sending a TGIF appetizer special, for example, attaching an image to the mobile coupon can help you look more professional and compelling.

Avoid abbreviation mistakes

Even though text abbreviations can be useful, it’s also quite easy to go wrong when trying to use them. Part of the reason for this that slang changes rapidly and using an abbreviation that’s no longer in vogue can make you stand out—in the wrong way. Avoid these mistakes to come across in your best light when texting.

1. Watch out for dated slang

What’s in style and what’s dated is obviously subjective, so part of this really relies on your knowing your audience. Just as an example, it would probably come across as out-of-touch to millennials if you incorporate numbers into your abbreviations. Common abbreviations like “Good 2 c u” or “Come 2 our bar 2nite 4 a gr8 time” probably aren’t going to convince many younger people you know what you’re talking about.

It’s a good idea to run your abbreviations by a few different people on your marketing team before using them. Try to get the best sense for your audience and scrap any abbreviations you’re unsure about.

2. Don’t overuse abbreviations

You don’t want a whole text full of abbreviations because that’s just going to make people feel like they’re deciphering a code. As a guideline, it’s probably safest to stick with one well-placed abbreviation in your entire text message. If you’re trying to abbreviate because you’re running out of room, consider sending a shortened link to a website that can more fully explain the details you’re trying to get across. Or, send an MMS with a photo that contains more information.

Text abbreviations can be a marketing asset

Using a text abbreviation in the right way gives your company the chance to speak casually with your customers and show them you truly understand their language. Just make sure your abbreviations are simple and common enough that people actually understand what you’re saying. If you’re ever in doubt, opt for a full length version of the word you’re trying to shorten.