Become a Pro at Internet Slang

Like all other things humans develop, languages evolve and grow over time. The Internet has brought many new words and expressions to many languages. While these words may only be found in obscure internet communities at first, they eventually enter the mainstream and sometimes even official dictionaries! While some terms may elicit a smirk from older generations, some still dismiss them as something to smile about. Here’s a list of Internet slang to help you expand your knowledge of the World Wide Web.

Hashtag

The hashtag, as many Internet users call it, is used by many websites to make browsing easier. Originally, Twitter did not allow the use of hashtags, but the users themselves created the possibility of adding a hashtag to their posts. Each hashtag begins with the symbol ‘#,” also known as the pound sign, although its proper name is actually ‘Octothorp.’ Twitter was the first to use this option, but the rest of the Internet eventually followed. ‘#tacotuesday’ is one of many examples of a popular hashtag. It can be used when grabbing a plate of soft-shell tacos at a local food stand or grabbing a quick meal at Taco Bell.

AMA (Ask Me Anything) 

AMA’ is an Internet term first used on the community website and forum Reddit. It is an abbreviation of “Ask Me Anything,” where a celebrity or other well-known person goes online and allows the community to ask him/her any question. In addition to Reddit, Facebook and Instagram can also ask such questions.

Bump

This is a term and thing commonly used in online forums. Since topics are listed in the order they were last commented on, ‘bumps’ move certain topics to the top. Bumps are usually allowed but can only be used at certain intervals to avoid derailing the topics being discussed in threads.

Noob

‘Noob’ is a shortened slang term for ‘newbie’ and refers to those new to a particular community/topic and without prior knowledge. Internet users may also refer to themselves this way when they do not fully understand a topic. This term is particularly popular in the gaming community, where ‘noob’ typically refers to someone who is intentionally or unintentionally bad at a game.

Lurker

The word ‘lurker’ may have an ominous ring, but it’s nothing to worry about as Internet slang. Lurkers read blog posts, web articles, and forum posts without replying or commenting. After all, “lurking” simply means hiding. Example: “I lurked on car owner forums for a long time until I finally managed to own a car myself.”

Memes

Believe it or not, the word ‘meme’ has existed long before the Internet’s advent. Originally named by Richard Dawkins in 1876, the definition is: “a unit of cultural information, such as a concept, belief, or practice, that spreads from person to person in a manner analogous to the transmission of genes” Memes can come in various forms, such as videos, images, or simple phrases. Memes usually originate as jokes in certain groups before spreading to other popular sites like Reddit. However, as they become more popular, memes are often abused, resulting in a very short lifespan, usually 1-2 months. This is likely due to internet users not knowing the context of the memes and using them compulsively to achieve their own goals.

Facepalm

Facepalm is a term used to slap your palm in the face. It is usually used to express annoyance or when you see something you find ‘annoying.’ The usage is particularly evident when someone says something extremely obvious.

Epic

In literature, epics are usually poems depicting legendary heroes’ adventures and exploits. An example of this is the Iliad by Homer. However, in the Internet language, “epic” is usually used to modify the description of something that succeeded or went wrong. Epic fail’ and “epic win’ are two common Internet expressions that use this word.

Troll

In the Internet age, trolls delight in incurring the anger and irritation of others and/or foment disagreement for their own amusement. The term was derived from mythological creatures of the same name that are light-shy and often harass travelers from their residences under bridges. Ironically, this is a typical description of an Internet troll, except for the bridge part. Since trolls have been around as long as the Internet, a saying has always been directed at them. “Do not feed the trolls” means that you should ignore them completely because any deception on the Internet is dangerous.