Home Lifestyle New study provides insight into the acronyms that confuse Americans the most

New study provides insight into the acronyms that confuse Americans the most


Social media experts at How Sociable analysed Google searches for common internet acronyms to find out which ones have got Americans scratching their heads.

Research shows that SMH is the most confusing acronym out there. Picture: File

IF YOU sometimes feel like the internet has a language of its own, it turns out you’re not the only one feeling that way.

Social media experts at How Sociable looked at the number of searches for each stand-alone acronym combined with “what does acronym mean”, “acronym meaning” and “what does acronym stand for” to find out which ones confuse us the most.

And according to this research, SMH was found to be the most confusing acronym across the US, with 802 858 searches per month on average or 9.6 million searches a year. The term, which stands for “Shaking My Head”, is commonly used online in situations when someone is disappointed or frustrated with the conversation or another person.

SMH often features in forums where emojis aren’t used, such as Reddit, or during online gaming chats on Twitch or Roblox. For iPhone and Android users, typing this acronym over text prompts the facepalm emoji, which shows a person covering his/her face in disappointment.

Meanwhile, TBH is the second most confusing acronym with a total of 306 085 searches per month across America. TBH, which stands for “To Be Honest”, is commonly used when giving an opinion on something and is often seen in comment threads and discussion forums.

In addition, the third most confusing acronym is POV which is searched around 284 475 times per month in the US.

The acronym is well known among writers and photographers to stand for “Point Of View”.

Over the past year, use of the acronym has appeared to go viral on TikTok and Instagram posts. And while it was originally used by content creators to refer to videos shot from the first-person viewer perspective, the term has since been misappropriated by some creators to refer to any skit centering around a person in an uncomfortable or awkward situation. An example of the acronym used within a caption would be, “POV: It’s prom night and your date is late”.

The other acronyms which rounded off the top-10 list of most confusing terms in the US include NSFW, which stands for “Not Safe For Work”; LMAO, which stands for “Laughing My Ass Off” and OP which stands for ”Original Post“.

Meanwhile, in seventh place was TTYL, which stands for “Talk To You Later”; in eighth was AFK, which stands for “Away From Keyboard”; in ninth was TLDR, which stands for “Too Long Didn’t Read” and in tenth was IIRC, which stands for “If I Recall Correctly”.

The Saturday Star

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