Understanding Gamer Slang

As I have grown older I find myself in situations where some of the slang being thrown around has become alien to me.  A big part of this might be the fact that I refused to ever play WOW (World of Warcraft) and a lot of new slang has spawned (pun intended) from that game.  My refusal to ever touch the game didn’t come for a dislike for MMORPGs, Fantasy worlds, or video games in general.  The reason I did not want to partake in WOW was the great number of friends I had that did play and ceased to exist in reality with the rest of us.  They stopped coming to real life RPG sessions like Dungeons and Dragons or Vampire because they preferred the online experience.  There’s nothing wrong with that, to each their own- but I would rather play a RPG with real people in front of me than go online.  The addiction factor is why I stayed away, because I am prone to such things!  That said, I find myself playing tabletop RPGs with many people who are deep into these online games and also a bit younger than I.  (I am in my early 30’s, they are in their early 20’s.)  They use a lot of lingo I’m not quite familiar with.

I thought it wise to research the modern gaming slang and compile a list for those of you like I, who know nothing about how “Pro” this is, or how to cheer “w00t!” when we successfully accomplish a goal as a team.  Here it is, your list of modern day computer and gaming slang!


RL = Real Life  (The world that we humans live and exist in, not the internet or gaming world.)

BRB = Be Right Back

AFK = Away From Keyboard

BIO = Biological  (Bathroom break)

ATM = At The Moment

OTW = On The Way

BTW = By The Way

TTYL = Talk To You  Later

TYT = Take Your Time

NVM = Nevermind

TY = Thank You

YW = You’re Welcome

WB = Welcome Back

NP = No Problem

TYVM = Thank You Very Much

BBL = Be Back Later

LOL = Laugh Out Loud  (In most cases those who wield this word are simply smiling in RL, not laughing.)

ROFL = Roll On Floor Laughing  (In this case most likely the person is actually laughing out loud in RL.)

ROFLMAO = Roll On Floor Laughing My Ass Off  (This means the person is laughing pretty hard in RL and most likely drawing the attention of other gamers in the room who ask “What’s so funny?”)

LMFAO = Laugh My Fat Ass Off  (Variations of the above acronym could also include LMTAO – Laugh My Thin Ass Off, or LMAAO – Laugh My Average Ass Off depending on the person’s weight category either in the game or RL.)

W00t! = This is a cheer to signify an accomplishment.  Usually used when with another person in the game or with a group.

WOOT! = This is a BIG cheer to signify a LARGE group accomplishment such as defeating a dragon or scoring a huge amount of loot!

FTW! = For The Win!  (Signifying who will be the “winner” or an enthusiastic emphasis to the end of a comment, message, or post.  Sometimes genuine, but often sarcastic.)

WOW = World of Warcraft  (The most popular online game ever created.  This game actually is a real life addiction for many people!)

Noob = A “newbie”, someone who is NEW to a game or particular situation.

MMORPG = Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game  (A game where hundreds, thousands, or millions of players log onto a game in a virtual world to explore, adventure, defeat enemies, and socialize with each other.  Online games were first called MUDs  Multi User Domain before graphic capability came along.) Ed- Before MUDs most “gamers” played tabletop Role-Playing games using books and paper and rolling dice, many still do (such as myself!).

ding! = An exclamation used by noobs on a MMORPG when they level up, most commonly in WOW.  The world refers to a sound emitted from the speakers in WOW when you level up.  This slang is used often by noobs, but used sparingly by long time players when they achieve a significant level such as 70 or 80 in which case they often post to their entire guild.  A guild is a group of other players on the game which work as a team to overcome obstacles and gain notoriety.

WTG = Way to go!

OMG = “Oh my goodness”, “Oh my God, or “Oh my gosh”.

Gratz = Congratulations

leet or leetspeak = Combining words and numbers, this is often used to make easy to remember codes for WIFI (Wireless Internet Router connections) or simply for any online password.   For example instead of “Password” one might type “Pa$$w0rd”.  Another example is “I like to eat Spaghetti” and would translate into leet as “I l1ke 2 E@t $paghett!”.

? = What are you talking about?

??? = What the hell is that supposed to mean?

????? = Who the hell do you think you are?  How dare you?

STFU = Shut the #%$# Up!

JK = Just Kidding

IAMF = It’s All My Fault

There are many more bits of slang to learn, but if you are a “noob” we will wait awhile and give you some time to absorb all of the above.  I’ll add some more entries to this post as time goes on, or you are welcome to post a comment below and add your own.

I’m sure many of us X, Y, & Z generation kids are guilty of sending a text to someone in the same room or only a room away.  As the years roll by, it will be interesting to see if the entire english language is eventually condensed down to acronyms which are used in everyday speaking.  Will the world soon see oral communication so taxing that we will no longer speak with each other, but simply send text messages?

Let’s see if we “old timers” can keep up with all this new slang and the changing tides!

Happy Gaming!

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.