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Slang is an ever-evolving part of the English language. Just when you think you have a handle on all the latest “lingo” (language), a new phrase pops up and throws you out of the loop. If you’ve been scratching your head over all the abbreviations and internet slang, don’t worry – you’re not alone.
An initialism you may have read on social media or in text messages is WYM. What does WYM mean?
Whether you are using Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Whatsapp or another form of social media, WYM stands for “what you mean.” It’s commonly used online and in text messaging to clarify or confirm a statement or question. It can also be used to respond to someone when you believe they are wrong or misunderstand what has been said.
Despite being an initialism, it is usually typed in lowercase letters in text speak. In a real conversation, people might ask, “what do you mean?” or “whatcha mean?”or even “whatchu mean?” (“watcha” and “whatchu” are short for the string of words “what do you”)
WYM is the young generation’s way to express themselves online via direct messages (DMs), social media posts, or text messages. Expect to see it mostly used by Generation Z, the generation of Americans born from 1997 to 2012, and even Generation Alpha, the next generation that is expected to become teenagers soon.
When to Use WYM
WYM is used informally in text conversations by teens and young adults. It is a way to digitally communicate your feelings using shorthand.
The easiest way to explain when to use WYM is with an example conversation.
- Person 1: The film wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be.
- Person 2: WYM? (What you mean?)
- Person 1: I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either.
In this example, “WYM?” prompts the speaker to give more details.
- Person 1: I’m not sure I’m going to be able to make it to your party tonight.
- Person 2: WYM?
- Person 1: I’m not sure when it ends, and I have to be up early for work tomorrow.
- Person 1: How did the date go?
- Person 2: It was OK.
- Person 1: WYM?
- Person 2: He is a lovely guy but I didn’t feel a spark.
- Person 1: I hate my job.
- Person 2: WYM?
- Person 1: I’m just really not happy with where I am right now.
- Person 1: I didn’t like the sushi at the restaurant.
- Person 2: WYM? I thought it was delicious!
In this example, the speaker is asking for clarification because they disagree with the given opinion. In this case, WYM is used to disagree with someone.
How to Respond to WYM
If someone texts you WYM, they usually ask for clarification on what you just said. The best way to respond is to explain yourself further, so there is no confusion. Just be honest and express your thoughts and opinions when responding to WYM.
Similar Abbreviations to WYM
WYM is similar to other initialism phrases such as:
- WYD (“what you doing?”)
- WDYM (“what do you mean?”)
- WTM (“what’s the matter?” or “whatever that means”)
- WTFUM (“what the f*ck you mean?”)
- WYMM (“will you marry me?”)
- WTF (“what the f*ck”)
- IKWYM (“I know what you mean”)
- IDKWYM (I don’t know what you mean”)
WYM vs. WDYM
You may have also seen the initialism WDYM, which stands for “What Do You Mean?” Unlike WYM, WDYM is not used as frequently and is considered somewhat outdated.
Both WYM and WDYM can be used to seek clarification, but WYM is the more widespread. If you’re not sure which one to use, stick with WYM.
Other Meanings of WYM
A much less common meaning of WYM is “watch your mouth.” The person may have said something offensive, and the speaker wants them to be careful about what they say next.
In general, WYM is a helpful acronym to know when communicating online or via text. It can help to avoid miscommunication and confusion and ensure that you’re both on the same page. It is mostly used by teens or young adults.
The next time you’re unsure what someone means or want to clarify a statement, use WYM where appropriate.
Interested in learning more slang used in texting? We’ve listed the most popular abbreviations on social media for you to check out.
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Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.