Mike LaCorte, First Vice President, World Association of Detectives

Edited and Reprinted with Permission

The new generation of social media and instant messaging users are creative innovators. Today, the young adaptors use an expansive set of abbreviations and text shorthand to communicate quickly and privately with one another. The ability to use instant messaging platforms and communicate efficiently with other individuals and/or groups of people has enabled the use of text shorthand to develop and flourish. Many of us know and maybe even occasionally use some of the common abbreviations, such as these:

LOL                 Laugh Out Loud

LYSM              Love You So Much

LMAO             Laughing My Ass Off

TBH                 To Be Honest

OMG               Oh My God

BTW                By The Way

BFF                 Best Friends Forever

IMHO             In My Honest Opinion

WTF                What The F**k

There are lesser known coded abbreviations that teens are commonly using to quickly communicate a message that may be monitored or intercepted. Understanding what these abbreviations mean and how they are used provide investigators (and parents) an insight into the mindset of their prey and children. Historical forms of instant messaging like ‘AOL Messenger’ were introduced many years ago. Among these, there was a common abbreviation used by those looking to meet others:

ASL                 Age, Sex, Location

This Acronym was predominantly used within chat rooms to enable users to reveal personal information within a group and enable other individuals to DM (Direct Message) the most suitable ASL user for a private chat. DM remains extremely popular. Common aps in use include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Snapchat, Sling, WeChat, Twitter, and Instagram. Here are few of the more common abbreviations currently in use (those in bold are the most common):

2DAY              Today

4EAE               For ever and ever

ADN                Any day now

ADR                Address

AEAP              As early as possible

AFAIK             As far as I know

AFK                Away from keyboard

AF                   As F*** (Used as an addition to other words such as Sexy AF)

ALAP               As late as possible

ATM                At the moment

BFN                Bye for now

BOL                 Be on later

BRB                Be right back

BTW               By the way

CTN                Can’t talk now

CD9                 Code 9 – it means parents are around

DM                  Direct Message

DWBH             Don’t worry, be happy

F2F or FTF     Face to face

FWB                Friends with benefits

FYEO              For your eyes only

GAL                Get a life

GB                  Goodbye

GLHF              Good luck, have fun

GNOC             Get Naked on Cam

GTG                Got to go

GYPO             Get your pants off

HAK                Hugs and kisses

HAND             Have a nice day

HTH                Hope this helps / Happy to help

HW                  Homework

IDK                  I don’t know

IIRC                 If I remember correctly

IKR                  I know, right?

ILY / ILU          I love you

IM                    Instant message

IMHO              In my honest opinion / In my humble opinion

IMO                 In my opinion

IRL                  In real life

IWSN              I want sex now

IU2U                It’s up to you

IYKWIM          If you know what I mean

J4F                  Just for fun

J/K                   Just kidding

J/O                  Jerking off

JIC                  Just in case

JSYK              Just so you know

KFY                 Kiss for you

KOTL              Kiss On The Lips

KPC                Keeping parents clueless

L8                    Late

LMBO             Laughing my butt off

LMIRL            Let’s meet in real life

LMK                Let me know

LSR                 Loser

MOOS            Member Of The Opposite Sex

MOSS             Member(s) Of The Same Sex

MorF              Male or Female

MIRL           Meet in real life

MOS               Mom over shoulder

MPFB             My Personal F*** Buddy

NAGI              Not a good idea

NALOPKT      Not A Lot Of People Know That

NIFOC            Nude in front of computer

NM                  Never mind

NMU               Not much, you?

NP                   No problem

NTS                 Note to self

OIC                 Oh I see

OMG               Oh my God

ORLY              Oh, really?

OT                   Off topic

OTP                On the phone

P911                Parent alert

PAW                Parents are watching

PAL               Parents are listening

PCM                Please call me

PIR                  Parent in room

PLS or PLZ    Please

POS                Parent Over the Shoulder or Piece of Sh**

PPL                 People

PRON             porn

PTB                Please text back

QTC                Quick to cum

RAK                Random act of kindness

RL                   Real life

ROFL              Rolling on the floor laughing

RT                   Retweet

RUOK             Are you okay?

RU/18              Are You Over 18?

MorF               Are You Male OR Female?

RUH                Are You Horny?

S2R                 Send to Receive

SMH                Shaking my head

SorG               Straight or Gay

SOS                Someone over shoulder

SRSLY            Seriously

SSDD              Same stuff, different day

SWAK             Sealed with a kiss

SWYP             So, what’s your problem?

SYS                 See you soon

TBC                To be continued

TDTM             Talk dirty to me

TIME               Tears in my eyes

TMI                  Too much information

TMRW            Tomorrow

TTYL              Talk to you later       

TY or TU         Thank you

VSF                 Very sad face

WB                  Welcome back

WTF                What The F**k

WTH                What the heck/hell?

WTPA             Where the party at?

WUF                Where You From?

WYCM            Will You Call Me?

WYRN             What’s Your Real Name?

YGM               You’ve got mail

YOLO             You only live once

YW                  You’re welcome

zerg                 To gang up on someone


For an exhaustive list of chat acronyms and text shorthand go to BFN & TTYL IYKWIM…

The World Association of Detectives is a global alliance of investigators and security professionals. A Global Alliance of Investigators & Security Professionals. With origins dating back to 1921, W.A.D. is the longest established and largest association of its kind in the world. The World Association of Detectives was formed as a joint venture by the combined membership of the World Association of Detectives and the International Secret Service Association for the following purposes:

  • To promote and maintain the highest ethical practices in the profession of private investigator or security service;
  • To select for membership only those individuals whose personal and professional backgrounds and business affiliations have strictly observed the precepts of truth, accuracy and prudence;
  • To eliminate unreliable, incompetent and irresponsible members of the profession;
  • To foster and perpetuate a spirit of cooperation among its members and with all those engaged in law enforcement; and
  • To further and establish a mutual feeling of trust, goodwill and friendship among agencies throughout the world.