Understand today’s Americanized colloquialisms

With the increasing number of American films and series on our TV, we automatically start to adopt certain abbreviations and words. However, for some, its meaning remains a mystery.

American terms and abbreviations

The use of American terms and abbreviations is increasing sharply, especially among the younger generation. This is especially noticeable on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Hyves. It is becoming increasingly common in everyday life and many of these words are completely unknown to most people. The words are often used in series, films and music, things that young people easily pick up.

To help you keep up, here is an overview of the most commonly used words and abbreviations and their meanings. Please note: This purely concerns American terms and abbreviations, Dutch slang is not discussed here.


Pronounced ASAP or A-SAP. Its meaning is As Soon As Possible. Literally translated as as fast as possible. This abbreviation is not only used by young people in America, but is a well-known expression there to make it clear that something is in a hurry, that it should not happen as quickly as possible.


Pronounced FYI. FYI stands for For Your Information. The expression is more in use among the younger American generation. In the Netherlands we would replace this with something along the lines of ‘just so you know’. It is often a rather arrogant expression to say something while it is actually none of his/her business.


TTYN was introduced by Paris Hilton’s series broadcast by MTV. The letter TTYN stands for Talk To You Never. It is actually not a good American word, but it is accepted as an abbreviation there. The literal translation is I will never speak to you again. So it is an unfriendly way of making it clear that you never hope to see or speak to that person again.


BFF is a widely used word in both America and the Netherlands. The letters stand for Best Friend(s) Forever. If someone is your BFF, it means that that person is your very best friend. In the Netherlands this could also be called a best friend.


A common abbreviation is ROFL, the meaning is not really obvious at a glance. The letters stand for Rolling On the Floor Laughing. It’s a simple and quick way to indicate that you find something incredibly funny. So funny that you lie on the floor, so to speak, laughing. In the Netherlands we also say ‘pick me up’ when we find something so funny. That comes from picking me up off the ground, which actually amounts to the same thing.


LMAO is actually very similar to the abbreviation above, also a quick way to say that you find something very funny. The letter stands for Laughing my ass off. The literal translation of this makes no sense, but the figurative translation simply means that you have to laugh so hard that you fall out of your chair, for example.


A very famous one is OMG. That stands for Oh my god! In Dutch it has exactly the same letters, namely O my God! The expression is widely used and is usually to express surprise.


This is a commonly used abbreviation. Many people use it and know that it means something is very funny, but they don’t know what exactly it stands for. Confusion may also be due to our Dutch word ‘lol’. The letters LOL stand for Laughing out loud and it means that you find something so funny that you laugh out loud.


Shawty actually comes from Shortie and is a widely used term in America. A Shawty or Shorty is a beautiful or attractive woman. This word is used a lot in the music industry.


The simple K does not stand for Kiss as many people think, but it stands for Okay. When you pronounce the letter in English, that is also what you literally say. The translation is of course okay.


Ly simply stands for Love You. The literal translation is I love you. A quick way to say you love someone.


Deuces is often used in the phrase chuckin’ my deuces up. Deuces means raising your index and middle fingers, which in combination means raising the gesture of peace. In this way it is often used to make it clear that you will leave it alone and that you are at peace with it, that you will no longer make any effort but will simply leave it as it is.

Leave a Comment