FWIW -- The origins of 'Net shorthand

John Brandon sets out to track down the first recorded usage of commonly used Internet initialisms

FWIW (for what it's worth)

Like BTW and FYI, the term FWIW probably started in the '80s or '90s as an office term -- the snobbish boss giving his 2 cents on a memo or e-mail, for example. It's not used much in online chats, and its usage on BBS systems is questionable -- it's not exactly an "elite" leetspeak term by any means. FWIW shows up as early as 1989 in this list of computer jargon.

G2G (got to go)

The etymology for this one is tough, but my guess is that its usage came about on multiplayer gaming systems such as Doom and Marathon because players would engage in death matches for hours and then finally admit that they needed to eat some food or go to sleep. I recall seeing this one when I used to play Doom back in the late middle to late '90s when a co-worker admitted he was being a derelict.

The Online Slang Dictionary includes a reference to GTG from 2002.

Do you know the origins of any of these terms? What are your favorite initialisms? Did we miss a common leetspeak term? Post in comments and let us know how you feel, kk?

John Brandon is a freelance writer, book author and Cblogger, who worked as an IT manager for 10 years.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags instant messaginginternet language

Show Comments