The Shortest Path to Real-Life Conversations

Learn languages like never before. Download the app for free!

Which language would you like to learn? Try it out for free!

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Internet Slang*

*BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK

New vocabulary, who dis

Dear user: if you fall into the age range between 15 and death, you probably spend all day online. Be it social media, news sites or watching cat videos, it’s time that you know and understand what all those internet related terms mean.

Below you will find a glossary of words, mostly anglicisms and neologisms, that you will need to master in order to surf the world wide web (this is what being online was called back in the day):

Attention span

It has been stated that human attention span has been reduced from 12 to 8 seconds in only three years, while the famous goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds. Yes, you’ve read correctly, that means that the simplified brain of a fish can focus longer than our very complex human brain. Bravo, evolution.

Autotune

Autotune is an audio processor that has helped many irrelevant videos turn into something viral or even legendary. Lots of celebrities use it for their songs (I am referring to you, Kanye), but when it comes to pure internet entertainment, tons of videos are now "classics" thanks to being "autotuned."

Binge-watching

One of my favorites – any proud TV-show addict will know this one. "Binge" means "to stuff yourself with something," in this case, with an online show. Thank you, Netflix.

- What did you do this weekend?

- I binge-watched Narcos.

Boomerang

No, I’m not talking about "a curved, flat piece of wood invented in Australia that will return to you when you throw it," but instead about the app that turns Instagram photos into GIFs (that is, Graphics Interchange Format). Nowadays, it’s more common to hear, "Hey, boomerang this!" rather than "Could you take a simple, boring and static picture of this?"

Ditto

This one comes from the Latin dicere, "to say". So saying "ditto" means you support or confirm what someone else just said.

  • I love GIFs!

  • Ditto.

Friendzoning

Whoever finds a friend finds a treasure, but —poor you — if you are in the "friendzone", it means your crush has written a NO on your forehead in big bright neon letters. "Yes" for friend, "NO" for anything more.

GIF

I’ve already explained what GIF stands for, it’s a dynamic image in a loop. Now we just have to agree on whether it’s pronounced GIF or JIF. (And I hope you get my point from the way I just spelled those two words.)

Knowmad

This term is a combination of the words "knowledge" and "nomad." I know, right? SO original. And yes, I’m talking about all those people with very dubious job titles that spend their lives traveling and uploading pictures and videos of amazing and exotic places, interesting people, and restaurants that just opened. Do you equally hate and envy these people? Well, welcome to the club.

Lurk

Another one of my favorites! To lurk or lurking is the act of looking or snooping around without actually taking part. Your friend who reads all the messages in the group chat but never participates? Lurker!

Meme

Memes are… oh… memes… Memes are concepts, often humorous, made from and for the internet and their only goal is to circulate and be replicated through social media. The name comes from the Greek word mimema, which means something imitated.

Nomophobia

Phobia also comes from Ancient Greek and it means "panic" or "fear." "Nomo" is short for "no mobile phone," so you can put the pieces together… those suffering from "Nomophobia" fear being without their phones or charger. Raise your phone hand if you also suffer from this.

Spoiler

"Spoiler" is such a classic that I’m surprised it’s not already a popular pet name. A spoiler is that sentence that kills the end of a movie, TV show, book or a story in general. Want to gush about the latest episode of [insert current hot TV show here] on your pop culture blog without spoiling the end for readers who are behind on their binge watching? Use the warning "Spoiler Alert."

Swipe

In "meatspace"1 people really only swipe credit cards. But with the power of apps you probably now spend more time callously swiping prospective dates: "swipe right if you like what you see… swipe left if you don’t…"

1 The physical world, i.e. not the internet.

Troll

No, I’m not going to give you a lecture about Scandinavian folklore and mythology (I’m not that old). The trolls we are discussing here are a completely different kind of creature. An "internet troll" is a person who leaves provocative comments in online forums to cause controversy and heated arguments. If you ask me, there are many offline trolls as well!

Twitterature

Twitter + literature. There are lots of smart people out there naming stuff.

Wexting

Boom, another one. Walking + texting. You know those people who walk slowly and stupefied, with their head down instead of looking where they’re going? Well… I shouldn’t say anything, I plead guilty. And you should too.

Want to learn a real-world language before AI takes over the world?
Babbel can help you with that.

Get started today: Choose a language!