USA Today "Where On the Web" Column

"Learn the Lingo - These Sites Can Make Sense of Alphabet Soup Online"

January 4, 2004 by Laura Shin

My 19-year-old sister is constantly saying things like "Bee Are Bee." Huh? She rolls her eyes and explains, "BRB is 'Be right back.' "

When I read her blog, it's all consonants and the occasional "I," "U" or "O," as in OMG ("Oh my God"). Thankfully, several Web dictionaries exist to help me decipher her cryptic messages, as well as the technical jargon I often see online.

Any and every phrase relevant to chat rooms and Web work is on For example, search for TANSTAASQ ("There ain't no such thing as a stupid question"), then click on "More info," for a translation of thousands of acronyms. Some shorthands that look geeky actually aren't, like TMTLTBMG ("There's more to love than boy meets girl"). Conversely, things that look racy are actually geeky, like "wallhumper" (slang for a person who raises his hip to swipe his electronic data card past a reader that opens a door, instead of taking it out of the plastic holder and swiping by hand)., like its name, is a little geekier, but it's more informative for people trying to do more than flirt on their computer. Terms are divided by category, such as Communications and Hardware, and in "Did you know?" the site answers questions everyone is afraid to ask, such as "Why do some e-mails bounce back?" and "Are deleted files completely erased?" has a dictionary of terms, listed alphabetically and by category, plus useful and entertaining guides, such as an introduction to DSL and a list of emoticons, including foreign ones, such as a Japanese smile: ^_^.

If you get too excited by all these crazy words, remember HILIACACLO ("Help, I lapsed into a coma and can't log off").

Learn Online Jargon