Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase, I earn a small commission. Affiliate links cost you nothing to use and help keep my content free. It is a win-win for us both! For more info, see the Disclosure Policy.
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.
6-Day English Challenge
Sign up for my free 6-day challenge + English vocabulary planner to improve your English skills. Practice for just 10 minutes per day and see the results! Sign up here.
One-on-One and Group Classes (Free Trial!)
Language lessons and targeted rapid learning at Lingoda to improve confidence. Classes are available 24/7 in English, Business English, German, French, and Spanish. Get a 7-day trial here.
Learn to READ AND WRITE
Learn how to write the letters of the alphabet and common English words with my printables available here. Improve early reading scores by 74% with the early learning program Homer.
Most Common Words in English
Did you know 3000 words in English make up about 95% of everyday conversation? Learn the 2000 most common words in English completely FREE when you sign up for English Class 101— no credit card required! Also, check out their monthly free gifts selection.
English Language Learning Videos
Study and learn English independently and at your own pace with the successful Building Your English Brain and English Vocabulary Launch: Upgrade your Speaking (intermediate).
I'm an Irish tutor and founder of TPR Teaching. I started teaching in 2016 and have since taught in the UK, Spain, and online.
I love learning new things about the English language and how to teach it better. I'm always trying to improve my knowledge, so I can better meet the needs of others!
I enjoy traveling, nature walks, and soaking up a new culture. Please share the posts if you find them helpful!