a.k.a. conversational abbreviations, acronyms, abbreviation, initialism, logogram, logograph, pictogram, pictograph, shorthand, text message shorthand, text messaging shorthand

In the old days (circa 1980) "shorthand" still referred to a system of rapid handwriting using symbols to represent words, phrases, and letters. Think of dictation, only secretaries knew how to write in abbreviated or symbolic form. Today, it is online users who are in the know. Shorthand in the 21st century refers to the abbreviated or symbolic messages typed back and forth via texting or IM, and seen in email messages , online [[chat room|chat rooms]], blogs, or newsgroup postings.

Shorthand often looks like an acronym because it is sometimes typed in all uppercase (for example BFF means "Best Friends Forever") or it looks like a series of keystrokes typed in all lowercase (for example :::poof::: means "I'm gone"). The difference between acronyms and shorthand is that with acronyms, you pronounce the letters as a new word (for example, BOHICA is pronounced "bow-hee-ka" and WYSIWYG is pronounced "whiz-ee-wig"). In contrast, shorthand pronunciations are generally pronounced by saying the letters one-by-one and not pronouncing it as a word (for example, TBD is pronounced "T-B-D" and GMTA is pronounced "G-M-T-A").

Linguistically speaking, in shorthand there is a further difference between an initialism and an abbreviation (for example, "ESP" is an initialism for "extra sensory perception" whereas "esp." is an abbreviation for especially). And to really mix things up, sometimes the shorthand isn't even shorter than the original phrase (for example: "dewd" means "dude" and "kewl" means "cool"); terms like this are also known as leetspeak. The common practice online is to refer to any shorthand, initialism, or abbreviation as an acronym.

The most noticeable feature of text orthography (a method of specifying the correct way of using a writing system to write a language) is the use of single letters, numerals, and typographic symbols to represent words, parts of words or even noises. For example:

b = be
2 = to
@ = at
x = kiss

When graphic units are used in this way, they are technically known as logograms or logographs (or in the case of some languages, characters). Logograms in texting may be used alone, or in combination:

b4 = before
@oms = atoms
2day = today
xxx = kisses
zzz = sleeping

Pictograms or pictographs, on the other hand, refer to visual shapes or pictures that represent objects or concepts. For example, emoticons and straight-on smileys are pictograms, and are also known as ASCII art. For example:

:-) = smile
;-) = wink
:-@ = screaming
(*o*) = surprised
(^_^) = cute
Here are a few examples of lowercase shorthand:

4eva (forever)
addy (address)
buhbye (bye)
cos(cuz) (because)
c ya (see ya)
d00d (dude)
dewd (dude)
ditto (same here)
dunno (i don't know)
every1 (everyone)
gawd (god)
gg (giggling)
grrlz (girls)
guvment (government)
hag1 (have a good one)
huh (what?)
i h8 it (i hate it)
kewl (cool)
luser (loser)
mmk (mmm&ok)
ne (any)
ne1 (anyone)
ne-wayz (anyways)
nic (nickname or username)
nm, u (not much, you?)
no praw (no problem)
nth (nothing)
peeps (people)
pix (pictures/photos)
::poof:: (i'm gone)
r (are)
r u goin (are you going?)
smt (something)
shhh (quiet)
sk8er (skater)
sok (it's OK)
some1 (someone)
sth (something)
sup (what's up?)
sweet<3 (sweetheart)
to go nookleer (to explode)
tripdub (triple w)
troo (true)
u (you)
ur (your)
w3b (www)
wirld (world)
w's^ (what's up?)
wub (love)
wut^ (what up?)
wuz (was)
wuzup (what's up?)
wymyn (women)
Xtian (Christian)

For the largest list of Internet acronyms and text message shorthand, click on "more info" below!

NetLingo Classification: Online Jargon
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