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Abbreviations for texting: What does SMH mean, and what is the correct way to use it for effective conversations?

Like or dislike them, abbreviations for texting are here to stay. The advent of instant messaging or chat, especially in the hands of millennials and Generation Z, has brought a deluge of abbreviations that are now used regularly in types conversations and exchanges. Perhaps you have seen words like SMH, TBH, IMO, and the like, and wondered what they meant.


These abbreviations for texting are useful because they convey the writer’s mood or frame of mind to the recipient. Instant messaging is particularly challenging because of a lack of visual of the body language and facial expression of the person at the other end of the messages. Where properly used, abbreviations, emojis and GIFs can help fill that gap by conveying a mood.

Abbreviations for texting: What is SMH, TBH, and others?
What does SMH mean?

Example: What does SMH mean?

As an example, what does SMH mean, and how is it used? That three-letter abbreviation means “shaking my head”. You use it by inserting it right where you would have said, “shaking my head”. Example from the screenshot above: in full English, the sentence would read, “Shaking my head. I will get on your case.” Using the abbreviation instead, it is written as “SMH. I will get on your case.”

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That is the general principle behind using these abbreviations for texting; use them the way you talk and write. Let’s look at a handful of them

What does SMH mean?

This abbreviation means “shaking my head”.


What does TBH mean?

The abbreviation, TBH, means “to be honest”.

What does IMHO mean?

IMHO means “in my humble opinion”.


What does LMAO mean?

LMAO is an abbreviation for “laughing my ass off”.

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What does ROTF mean?

ROTFL means, “rolling on the floor”.

What does ROTFL mean?

This one means “rolling on the floor laughing”.


What does LOL mean?

LOL stands for “laughing out loud”.

What does DKM stand for?

In texting, the abbreviation DKM means “Don’t kill me”.

Where and when should you use these abbreviations for texting?

These Abbreviations are suitable for casual, social conversations. In other words, they are appropriate for when chatting with or messaging friends. Using them in formal communication is considered inappropriate, so use full words and spellings for formal communications.

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