Reddit Acronyms – A Parents’ Guide

reddit-alienWe’re pretty sure the population of parents that both (a) knowingly agree to let their kids or teens spend time on Reddit, and (b) actually go on Reddit themselves to do a little checking, is pretty small. If you do check it out, you might find yourself bewildered by the Reddit lingo.

The collection of acronyms that was largely created and is used on Reddit, and has spread to many other forums and text messaging, is interesting and offers some insight into what people are thinking when they post, and what the posts actually mean, on the mostly anonymous network.

If you don’t already know, Reddit is a social network community where registered users can post information and comment on others’ posts. As of last month, the site boasts over 150 million page views per month, and the voluminous content gets sorted by an upvote/downvote methodology, which results in the most popular content rising to the top of each page.

Reddit has few rules, and for that reason has a lot of critics. At least in part because most of Reddit’s users are anonymous, or use a pseudonym, there is some cyberbullying and other bad behavior in addition to the considerable adult content. That said, we’ve written before that for a discerning user, the good on Reddit far outweighs the bad even though the bad tends to get more publicity.

We went deep into the bowels of Reddit’s FAQs to take a look at their acronym list and definitions, and added a few of our own. The acronyms show that many or most users are community minded.

Acronyms signaling author humility, or an honest request for input or claim that the post or comment is not being offered up as fact:

  • AFAIK means “As far as I know”
  • CMV means “Change my view”
  • DAE means “Does anybody else” or “Does anyone else”
  • ELI5 means “Explain like I’m 5 (years old)”
  • IANAD means “I am not a doctor”
  • IANAL means “I am not a lawyer”
  • IIRC means “If I recall correctly”
  • IMO/IMHO means “In my opinion” and “In my humble/honest opinion”, respectively
  • [Serious] means “Serious responses only” (commonly used in /r/askreddit and other subreddits now)

Handy user warnings:

  • NSFL means “Not safe for life” (gory or gross content)
  • NSFW means “Not safe for work” (sexual content)

Informational labels:

  • AMA means “Ask me anything”
  • FTFY means “Fixed that for you”
  • IAMA means “I am a”
  • ITT means “In this thread”
  • MIC means “more in comments”
  • MRW/MFW means “My reaction when” and “My face when”, respectively
  • OP means “Original poster” (the person who started the thread)
  • PSA means “Public service announcement”
  • TIL means “Today I learned”
  • TL;DR means “Too long; Didn’t read”
  • YSK means “You should know”

Overall, much of the content on Reddit is very high quality, and posters and commenters are for the most part an above-board lot. Users, even young users of a sufficient maturity level, can get a lot out of Reddit by avoiding the bad actors and content.


Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for more news and information on keeping your teens safe online. You can sign up for our weekly newsletter on the right.

Leave a Reply