Thursday, June 6

A Guide to Chat Room Abbreviations
by Cathi Stevenson
Author's Cafe

It seems everyone is online, chatting up a storm. Approximately 350 million people already use the Internet worldwide. Chat rooms are often filled to capacity, with new ones popping up as fast as you can log on. On many sites, you can create your own room by simply typing in a name.

It's a growing phenomenon, complete with a brand new language. Back in the early 90s, when the only chat room most people were familiar with was the staff lounge, and the Internet was primarily used for business, a casual good bye would be written "see you". In today's Internet chats it's "CU". Instead of "see you later", it's "CUL8R". Those extra keystrokes must really take a lot out of people.

Since other chatters can't actually see or hear you online (unless of course you're using a cam and mic), emotions can also be typed:
: ) is a smile,
>: -( is anger.
If you're bummed out, simply type :-c
Want to send a rose? @---)---)---
Share a mug of coffee with an online buddy?? [_]>
How about a snack?? Have some online pretzels, &&&&
Even XO for kiss and hug doesn't suit the sophisticated cyber lover, now it's (()):**
88 is love and kisses
Mouth kisses are }{
If your kisses are rejected, you can always cry sadly :'-(

This is by no means limited to English-speaking chatters. Most of the "graphics" are international, and many common acronyms, like LOL (Loads of Laughter) are becoming recognized internationally.

Forgeign chatters have also adopted their own abbreviations and acronyms. In Brazilian chat rooms you'll see lots of **rrr. The "r" stands for risos, which means laughter in Brazilian Portuguese. MDTR (Morrendo de Tanto Rir) is roughly the equivalent of the English expression "dying of laughter". In English-speaking chat rooms it's more common to use ROFL, which means Rolling On The Floor Laughing. This particular acronym has endless variations. ROFLAPMP means Rolling On The Floor Laughing And Peeing My Pants. The phrase can get even longer, but some of the words are not for a general audience.

Perhaps the most common "introduction" is A/S/L. It's sent just like that. Have you guessed?? It's asking age, sex, location.

In all, there are about 150--200 new "words" for chatters. Here are a few more, FYI:

BTW = By The Way
BWL = Bursting With Laughter
DOM - Dirty Old Man
EG = Evil Grin
BED = Big Evil Grin
AFAIK = As Far As I know
S^ = What's Up
^ = Thumbs Up
100 = Nature Calls
GGP = Gotta Go Pee
B4N = Bye For Now

Copyright (C) 2002 C. Stevenson and licensors. All Rights Reserved.