In the soulful words of Bob Dylan, the times they are a-changin’. Gone are the days of carefully crafted letters, comprised of poetic words to a loved one, and in their place are three letter abbreviations haphazardly whatsapped with one eye on the TV.
All cynicism aside, text slang and abbreviations make chatting with your friends and family easier and a lot faster, so getting a firm grasp on them is advisable – if only to spare you countless online trips to Urban Dictionary and perhaps an awkward misunderstanding or two.
Here’s our rundown of 11 bits of Whatsapp slang you need to master, like, ASAP (not sure what that means? Worry not, we explain it all here).
Meaning: To be honest
This can be used to accompany some serious truth bombs or simply to express your opinion on a particular subject.
Frank: Are we still on for this evening?
Jake: I’d rather stay in tonight, tbh. I’m re-watching Breaking Bad.
This is generally used ironically and can definitely trigger an eye roll, depending on who you use it with. There’s also a lot of disagreement over the correct spelling, with the phonetic variant being “caʒ” but for the sake of ease, “caj” will do. Can also be used sarcastically when something is absolutely the opposite of casual.
Jake: Mark’s flying first class to Japan with Rihanna this weekend
Frank: Oh sure, caj.
Meaning: I know, right?
When you wholeheartedly agree with what your text partner is saying, you can serve up this particular abbreviation.
Jake: Omg, this lecture is moving at a glacial pace.
Frank: Ugh, ikr!
Meaning: On my way
When you’re running out the door or jogging to the bus stop but need to let your friend know you’ll be there soon, shooting off a quick “omw” can save you precious seconds. Can also be used to reassure the person you’re meeting that you’ve actually left the house and aren’t still lounging on your couch in a bathrobe (when you most certainly are).
Frank: We all got to the restaurant half an hour ago, Jake – you better be around the corner.
Frank: You’re still in your pyjamas, aren’t you?
Meaning: Of course
Another handy time-saver to quickly let your pal know you’re on the same page as them.
Frank: Did you take a three hour nap and do zero work again?
Meaning: I don’t care
This one is pretty straightforward and if you want to let someone know how little you care, shortening the phrase to three letters really drives the point home.
Frank: Mate, I think you might be wearing your trousers backwards…
Jake: Meh, idc
Meaning: In real life
We all know that social media doesn’t necessarily correspond with real life, so you may hear about how someone or something is a little different “irl”. A good one to know while you’re navigating your various socials.
Frank: I’m obsessed with the dogs I follow on Insta
Jake: Same, I bet they’re even cuter irl
Meaning: To be fair
Often used to present a counter argument or interject with a dose of rationale, this is a widely-used term in text conversations.
Jake: I can’t believe Jerry left his shift an hour early.
Frank: Tbf, he worked like 14 hours overtime last weekend.
This is another testament to the average texter’s hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (fear of long words) – even “obviously” got the chop. “Obvs” will suffice to make your feelings known.
Frank: We’re all getting pizza later, you in?
Why emphasize your point by typing out a long series of “very, very, very”, when you could simply put “vvv”? You can indicate the severity of what you’re expressing by using more or fewer “v”s – the joys of the modern age.
Frank: Are we still going for dinner later?
Jake: Ya, Mark’s bringing Rihanna, I’m v excited.
Meaning: At the moment
Whilst this combination of letters is more traditionally known to mean Automated Teller Machine (ie. a cash machine), if you see it used during a text conversion, chances are it means “at the moment”.
Frank: I’ve zipped my shirt into my jacket and now I’m stuck, help
Jake: Watching Breaking Bad atm, will free you later.