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Text Message Symbols


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Do you ever get a text from your child and have a hard time deciphering it due to all the unfamiliar text message symbols? Our kids, who have grown up with cell phone technology, know an entire new language that we’ve been slower to learn.

Since fostering open, clear communication between parents and their children is one of my goals, I want to help break down that language barrier. So, I’ve put together this guide to common text message abbreviations and emojis and their meanings for you.

hands holding a cell phone with title text reading Parent's Guide to Text Message Symbols & Terms

Now, not only will you know what your kids are trying to say to you, you can communicate with them in the way that is easiest for them! 

Of course, face-to-face interactions are still important, perhaps now more than ever. Maybe once you’ve made the effort to match your child’s communication style, they’ll be more open to matching yours and you can pass on all of your wonderful conversational skills!

How Text Message Symbols Became the Norm

When you text, you get tired of having to type with your thumbs, so finding a way to save effort by typing as few letters as possible is essential. Text message symbols were actually created for that reason, to make texting faster and easier.

Commonly used abbreviations and their meanings

Each abbreviation is different, some leave out vowels, while others replace letters that have the same sound, and you get the ones that replace an entire sentence by being acronyms. Even if you’re not interested in using the abbreviations yourself, you will most definitely find it helpful when you get that rushed text from the kids.

a cell phone with title text reading A Parent's Guide to Text Message 84 Abbreviations understand your kid's POV with NP

Below you’ll find dozens of common text abbreviations. I’ve listed even the obvious ones, just in case. 

AMA – Ask me anything

& or + – And

NE1 – Anyone

R – Are

RUOK? – Are you okay?

@ – At

AAF – As a friend

AAR – At any rate

8 – Ate

BI5 – Back in five

B – Be

BRB – Be right back

BRT – Be right there

BTDT – Been there done that

BC or B/C – Because

B4 – Before

BL – Belly Laughing

BFF – Best friends forever

BYTM – Better you than me

B2D – Bored to death

BF – Boyfriend

BTW – By the way

CX – Cancelled

QT – Cutie

DM – Direct message

DMI – Don’t mention it

ETX – End of text

F2F – Face to face

4 – For

4EVER or 4EVA – Forever

FOAF – Friend of a friend

GF – Girlfriend

GL – Good luck

GG – Good game

IC – I see

IMO – I see

TBH – To be honest

JK – Just kidding

K4U or KFY – Kiss for you

KIR – Keep it real

L8R – Later

LOL – Laughing out loud

LMAO – Laughing my ass off

ROTFL – Rolling on the floor laughing

LUV – Love

MBN – Must be nice

MRA – Moving right along

MF – My friend

NBD – No big deal

NP – No problem

OMG – Oh my God

G2G or GTG – Got to go

GR8 – Great

HB – Happy Birthday

REHI – Hi again

XO – Hugs and kisses

IDK – I don’t know

ONID – Oh no I didn’t

121 – One to one

OAO – Over and out

PPL – People

PLZ or PLS – Please

POV – Point of view

PTL – Praise the Lord

PM – Private message

QL – Quit laughing

QOTD – Quote of the day

ROFO – Read and find out

RTBS – Reason to be single

SMH – Shaking my head

SRY – Sorry

CUL8R – See you later

S2U – Same to you

TY – Thank you

THX or TNX – Thanks

TOY – Thinking of you

2DAY – Today

SUP? – What’s up?

2NITE – Tonight

WTG – Way to go

YOLO – You only live once

W/O or WO – Without

U – You

UR – Your or you’re

Commonly used Emojis and their meanings

Emojis, which come from the Japanese E(picture)moji(character), are basically small pictures. Emojis are used for all kinds of digital communication, whether it’s through text, or on social media, or on websites.

There are many types of Emojis, over 3000 worth. They express many different things.

Emojis vary greatly from yellow smiley faces to other day-to-day objects such as food, weather, animals, country flags, and more. Most of the Emojis are self-explanatory, but others mean specific things.

a person holding a cell phone with images of emojis floating above the phone with title text reading The Ultimate Mom's Guide of Emojis

😊☺– Happiness or Positivity, can be used with an insult or criticism to lessen the sting.

😀😃😄😆 – Also express happiness, but at greater levels. Rarely used with an insult or criticism.

😅 – Happiness with relief or joy after a negative event works out.

😂 – Laughter, the Emoji version of the LOL abbreviation or can he used when sending or receiving a joke.

🤣 – Extreme laughter, the Emoji version of the ROFL abbreviation.

🙃 – Implies that something doesn’t make sense or that you’re not being serious.

🤪 – Flippancy, something is silly and funny at the same time.

😎 – Depicts coolness, or just to imply “deal with it”.

😳 – Used for an awkward situation, a mistake or for embarassment.

😉😏 – Depicts humorous intent, but when used together may be depicted as a suggestive message.

😛😜😝 – Express humor at different levels.

😌 – Relief or contentment.

😇 – Innocence, can be serious or humorous.

😈👿 – The smiling Emoji is for naughtiness (more like suggestive) and the frowning Emoji for mischievousness (more like malice).

😘😗😙😚 – Romance and affection.

🙈🙉🙊 – Used for embarrassment, shock or something cheeky.

💩 – Humor or criticism.

❤💔 – The whole heart is used for friendship, fondness or romance. The broken heart is used for extreme sadness or for irony.

👍👎👌🙏🙌✌🤙 – As per the order of the Emojis- acceptance, disagreement, okay sign, used as a thank you (appreciation) or for prayer, support or appreciation, victory sign, call me or hang loose.

🙏 – Thank you, prayer or pleading.

🤗👐 – Hugging, friendliness and openness.

💫 – Shooting star or dizziness.

🔥 – Lit or hot.

😬 – Grimace or awkward grin.

💓💗 – Falling in love or having butterflies.

🖤💛💚💜💙 – Black is for dark humor, yellow is for friendship, green is for jealousy or healthy living, purple is for love or compassion, blue symbolises Autism Awareness and stands for harmony, peace and loyalty.

💯 – Approval, or an Emoji version of “keep it real” or “keep it 100”.

💀 – Dead tired, or something so funny it could kill you from laughter.

👽 – Weird behavior or something out of this world.

🤯 – Mind blown.

🥺 – Pleading face or asking for a favor.

😢😭 – The first Emoji is of strong hurt and pain. The second Emoji is an extended version of the first, with being in pain, being upset and sad- can be used ironically.

🤨🧐🤔 – Scepticism, doubt or disapproval.

😨😰😱 – Different levels of being scared to completely terrified- but can be used ironically as well.

😕😖 – Confusion, awkwardness and as an apology (i.e., for cancelling plans).

😠😡 – Different levels of anger and pouting.

🌬 – Wind, fog, smoke and mother nature.

💨 – Fast movement or a gust of air.

Emojis for special events

In addition to the everyday emojis listed above, there are specific emojis for different holidays, special observances, and events. Here’s a summary of the most commonly used seasonal emojis.

🎂 – Birthday

🛍 – Black Friday

🐉 – Chinese New Year

🎅 – Christmas

🕯  – Diwali

🐰 – Easter

🍂 – Fall / Autumn

👨 – Father’s Day

💪 – Festivus

🎓 – Graduation

🎃 – Halloween

🕎 – Hanukkah

🕉 – Holi

👩 – Mother’s Day

🎊 – New Year’s Eve

🏊 – Summer Olympics

🏳️‍🌈 – Pride

👑 – Queen’s Birthday

☪ – Ramadan

🌱 – Spring

☘ – St Patrick’s Day

☀ – Summer

🏈 – Super Bowl

🦃 – Thanksgiving

💘 – Valentine’s Day

👰 – Wedding / Marriage

⛄ – Winter

🎿 – Winter Olympics

⚽ – World Cup

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