Home > Articles

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Acronyms and Emoticons

Our popular Internet email, as well as other online communication such as chat rooms and instant messaging, is informal, quick, and easy. Everybody loves communication that is short, concise, and to the point. The shorter, the better. As a matter of a fact, in the name of brevity, you will often see a string of abbreviations, called acronyms, used in electronic communications. This easy-to-learn shorthand works like a simple code and makes communicating electronically more fun.

If you know what NASA or IRS refer to, you are already familiar with acronyms. Email acronyms are similar to regular acronyms—they are words formed from the capitalized letters of each of the first letters of a descriptive phrase or from a combination of letters that represents the long words. An acronym is actually a type of abbreviation. Although you sometimes see acronyms or abbreviations written with periods after each letter—for example, U.S.A.—periods are not used in online acronyms.

Understanding acronyms will add to your enjoyment of online communication. They seem to lighten up the content. Using acronyms is fun. It is like being a member of a club and knowing all the secret codes. Let’s look at some fun ways to use this Internet shorthand.

Saying Goodbye

A whole classification of acronyms for saying goodbye and farewell has been created—a kind of online closing for an online communicating you are doing. Why not try some of these when writing your email or the next time you leave a chat room?

  • BBL—Be back later

  • BFN—Bye for now

  • BRB—Be right back

  • TTFN—Ta ta for now

  • TTYL—Talk to you later

When you want to urge someone on or send them a word of encouragement, try this well-known acronym:

  • WTG—Way to go

Many of these interjections can add expression and personality to your messages:

  • BTW—By the way

  • FWIW—For what it’s worth

  • GMTA—Great minds think alike

  • IAE—In any event

  • IMHO—In my humble opinion

  • IOW—In other words

  • JFYI—Just for your information

  • OTOH—On the other hand

  • WRT—With respect to

  • WYSIWYG —What you see is what you get

It is easy to tell that this acronym was developed from chat room conversation.

  • PMFJI—Pardon me for jumping in

How about a few regarding something funny?

  • LOL—Laughing out loud

  • ROTFL—Rolling on the floor laughing

Some of the common response acronyms seem somewhat flippant and even a little sarcastic. Quite a few of them originated from chat room banter. Perhaps because online communications have no face-to-face contact, it is very easy to overlook the feelings of your reader. You might try using these common responses, which show sensitivity:

  • HSIK—How should I know

  • NBD—No big deal

  • NOYB—None of your business

  • OIC—Oh, I see

  • OTL—Out to lunch

  • TIC—Tongue in cheek

FAQR—a new acronym I just coined for "For a quick review"—why not join in the acronym fun? To speed up your messages, pepper them lightly with the appropriate acronyms, but use them sparingly. No one wants to spend hours cracking an over coded message. Remember to use acronyms with sensitivity, in the event that your reader might not know the tone in which you are writing. And last, but not least, be sure to get them right; otherwise, you might have family and friends ROTFL over your attempt to say BFN when you typed NBD instead.

Another very entertaining form of Internet shorthand is using emoticons. Emoticons are keyboard characters that resemble human facial expressions. Emoticons are used to convey emotion or state of mind.

Email, chat rooms, and online conversations such as instant messaging are the Web’s truly unique methods of communication. Electronic communications are somewhat like a cross between a letter without details and a phone call without vocal tones and expressions. In order to convey these missing qualities, a new shorthand can indicate when you are happy, when you are sad, and even when you want to scream. This shorthand uses standard keyboard symbols to produce cute little pictures called emoticons or smileys.

The three most common emoticons created with a keyboard are


A smiley face indicating happiness.


The sad face indicating unhappiness.


The winky face indicates a flirtatious or sarcastic remark.

To get the full impact of the emoticons, you have to lean your head to the left as you look at them. Other emoticons include








A kiss






Bad hair day


Oh, what a night






WOW! (eyes bugging out)


Sticking tongue out


Shedding a tear

Emoticons are so popular that they have advanced into other areas. Although these emoticons have nothing to do with emotions, they include some clever combinations that are just plain fun.


Put your money where your mouth is!


Baseball fan


A baby




Needs a nose job


User with moustache and toupee


Guy with duck tape over his mouth

Emoticons are even used to represent famous people, cartoon characters, and animals. See if you can spot the resemblance or the connection to the person or character noted.


Cindy Crawford or Marilyn Monroe


The pope


Uncle Sam


Charlie Chaplin


Dolly Parton


Donald Trump


Santa Claus




Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer


Mickey Mouse




Marge Simpson





:>( )<


These simple emoticons are still used everyday in chat rooms and email. They have given rise to even more graphical emoticons such as the ones shown in Figure 3.2. These emoticons are easy to use. You can download them free from many websites such as Smileytown at http://www.smileytown.com or Smiley Central at http://www.smileycentral.com. You can even purchase special animated emoticon collections—such as sports and entertainment, holiday, and cat and dog—with programs such as GetSmile at http://www.getsmile.com.

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.2 These graphical emoticons are used in message boards and email.

Don’t you agree that emoticons are fun? Creating them has become a hobby for some. Even if you don’t want to spend the time to create your own, understanding these cute little computer faces will certainly add to your enjoyment of online communications. And they can always lighten up your email. Try it; you’ll like it. :-)

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020