If the business slang (and jargon) in your inbox, from your clients, co-workers, or even your boss is starting to look more and more like the sender just bashed their head on the keyboard a few times, you’re not alone…
Millennials, like every generation, have their quirks (I should know).
Brought on by faster and more efficient communication methods than ever, business slang, jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms are beginning to dominate the conversation these days—especially in certain industries. (Looking at all you mindful startups, finance companies, PR & advertising firms.)
With millennials growing to occupy the largest share of the workforce, our communication style is spreading faster than ever.
With all the business slang, jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms, comes more efficient (and possibly more fun) communication, but it can suck if you’re out of the loop. Just don’t discount them yet, PLZ.
Now, TBH if YDK WTF I’m saying here so far, hopefully this list will help you figure it TF out. YW, EOM.
Here’s a massive list of all the business slang, jargon, abbreviations, and acronyms I’ve compiled from interviewing dozens of millennials in various different fields—broken down and separated by industry.
Everyday Business Slang, Jargon, Acronyms and Abbreviations
This business slang dictionary will help you figure out WTF is going on in your Slack channels at work.
The business jargon and acronyms in this section are mostly just abbreviations for words and phrases many of us use on a regular basis. You’re going to enjoy all the time you save by cutting down on those needless letters!
1. HBTY: Happy Birthday to You.
Let’s say it’s Johnny’s birthday in the office today and you’re in a rush. Fire off a quick HBTY over Slack and you’re done—congratulations, you just saved yourself 3 seconds of typing.
2. LBH: Let’s Be Honest.
Think your current project is going off the rails? Get everyone on the same page and preface it with a quick LBH. As in, LBH, the talking baby chat bot feature is a stupid idea.
3. TBH: To Be Honest.
If you have a shirt that says “I’m not an asshole, I’m just honest…” then this will be your favorite on the list. Try starting your needlessly harsh critique with a TBH and cross your fingers that they’ll appreciate the honesty (and not call on your least favorite acronym: HR).
4. NBD: No Big Deal.
Your boss wants you to take on all the projects from the guy who just quit with no extra pay? And get them done in half the time? With no overtime? NBD. Really, it’s NBD… right?!
5. FML: Fuck My Life.
Say Jim loops you in on an email from the boss asking for yet another round of revisions on the project you two are working on. Shoot him a quick FML (reply, not reply all, if you value your job) so Jim knows exactly how you feel about redoing all your hard work because someone higher up wants a “more relatable shade of light blue” on that landing page header.
6. AF: As Fuck.
Used to emphasize whatever you’re referring to. If Tom won’t stop interrupting you at the meeting, he’s being annoying AF. If you’re planning on getting inappropriately drunk (or stoned) at your team’s happy hour this Friday, you’re intent on getting Lit AF.
7. Def: Definitely.
As in, (TBH) you can def never remember how to spell definitely the correct way, so this is def a great way to both save time and the embarrassment of spelling it wrong in an email to your superiors.
8. V: Very.
Very is kind of a useless word anyway, so why not make it even shorter? When someone asks you how you’re feeling on Monday morning, just reply “v tired” and be done with it.
9. P: Pretty.
The less enthusiastic cousin of v, you’re p excited about how your advertising campaign is performing (but not quite v excited).
10. BC: Because.
Explain yourself, now with five fewer letters! Why did you grab a coffee before work that made you late? BC it seemed like a better alternative to falling asleep at your desk.
11. NSFW: Not Safe For Work.
You want to send your work friend something hilarious, but it’s also a little R-rated. Caution her with a quick NSFW so that she doesn’t open it on her computer when the boss is wandering by. That one might be smarter to look at on your phone.
12. SFW: Safe For Work.
Got a cool boss that doesn’t mind when you’re off-topic? Drop all the memes you like in that #Random Slack channel, as long as they’re not inappropriate, and let the recipient know they’re safe by saying SFW.
13. FOMO: Fear of Missing Out.
FOMO would be the reason you’re scrolling through Instagram all day instead of working—you’re afraid you’ll miss out on something awesome if you tear yourself away and actually get those TPS reports done.
Or on the flip side, maybe you're worried your TPS reports are going to take so long to wrap up that you're getting FOMO about missing happy hour with the team tonight. Either way, TPS reports can GTFO.
14. TFW: That Face When or That Feeling When.
This one has to be accompanied by a picture that illustrates what you mean, so don't make the mistake of using this by itself. Send a TFW with a gif of a monkey throwing poop to your work buddy during a boring meeting and watch them try not to crack up.
15. SMH: Shaking My Head.
What on earth was Cathy talking about earlier? SMH.
16. OMW: On My Way.
When you're late and your coworker messages you on the sly saying the boss is on a rampage, text back OMW and book it over there.
17. LMK: Let Me Know.
Don't let your co-worker ghost on your request for feedback. End with an LMK so they know you want to hear from them.
18. BRB: Be Right Back.
Say you're in a Skype call and you have a sudden emergency (like, you're out of coffee). Post a quick BRB to let them know you've stepped out for a minute and will be back soon.
19. FYI: For Your Information.
This can be petty or helpful, your call. I use it both ways. If you need to prove that you're right in an argument, send over the proof with a pointed FYI. You can also help a friend out with some useful information and a friendly FYI from your company wiki. You have the power!
20. IMO: In My Opinion.
IMO, we should be going a different direction on this project. Yeah, well, that's just like, your opinion, man.
21. ICYMI: In Case You Missed It.
Get your buddy in the loop—as in, ICYMI, Jen finally got fired for being late every single day.
22. TTYS: Talk To You Soon.
A friendlier way to say goodbye with a promise to talk again in the future.
23. YW: You're Welcome.
If Jim hits you with a quick TY, now you know what to do. Fire back a YW and bask in speaking his language for once.
24. AKA: Also Known As.
The boss, AKA Satan, said we couldn't wear jeans on Fridays. What a drag.
25. ATM: At The Moment.
What are you up to ATM? Oh not much, just scrolling through Reddit. I mean, working on that spreadsheet for you.
26. BAE: Before Anyone Else.
This is one that's purely used by the kids who also say "fleek" and think it's cool to dab. It's just an affectionate term for your partner that's sort of a reformulation of babe—in other words, don't say this to your boss.
27. BTD: Bored to Death.
Think of any meeting you've ever been in on a Monday morning—you've probably been BTD. Now you can message your coworker BTD next time so you guys can commiserate.
Financial Jargon and "Numbers" Business Slang
The math already confuses you, and now they're throwing around words you don't get either?
Check out this list for a run-through on the basics of business slang for the world of finance and numbers.
28. ACCT: Account.
This is an easy one. If the guy who crunches all the numbers is referring to the ACCT in an email, it's the account he's working on.
29. CR: Credit.
Think of like your personal line of credit - the more credit a company has, the better. If she's talking about the company's low CR, that's not good.
30. DR: Debit.
This is the representation of all the money that flowed out of the company. Paying the internet bill, for example, goes in the DR account.
31. EPS: Earnings Per Share.
This is how much money the company is making per unit it sells - the higher the EPS, the better.
32. FIFO: First in, First out.
This has to do with inventory - it's basically saying that when something is bought first, it's used first.
33. LIFO: Last in, First out.
The opposite of the above, where the last item bought is the first item used.
34. ROI: Return on Investment.
This one is pure money-making business slang. Your return on investment is the calculation of how much money the company is making, compared to how much money it's spending.
35. IPO: Initial Public Offering.
You'll hear this get thrown around in stocks, and it's specifically referring to the stock price the very first time it's introduced to the market.
36. Q1: First Quarter.
For financial purposes, the year is typically split up into quarters. Get on the same page by making sure you guys are talking about the same time period - Q1, Q2, etc.
37. YDT: Year to Date.
Big picture talk, instead of breaking it down by months or quarters, you can take a wider lens and look at the overall year.
38. MTD: Month to Date.
Counter to the above, this is small picture talk, zooming in on that month's performance so far.
"Management" Business Slang, Acronyms and Abbreviations
Your boss probably picked some of this "management" business slang from his youngest interns over the years and now everyone is going around using them.
Better to learn them sooner rather than later!
39. FTE: Full-Time Employee.
You'll see this business slang floating around in HR all the time, it's just short for a full-time employee.
40. MOM: Month over Month.
Managers love this business slang because it compares the current month's performance to the previous month. It's not always a good measure, because there are typically a lot of variables each month that can differ, but there you have it. Managers.
41. OT: Off Topic.
If you need to interject about something or ask a question in an ongoing thread that doesn't necessarily have to do with the current topic of conversation, label it with the business slang, OT, so people know this'll be a little off-topic.
42. OOO: Out of Office.
It's used as shorthand for when people aren't in the office, whether they're on vacation, out sick or at a conference. You've probably seen this business slang on a calendar where Jill is marked as OOO for the week.
43. POC: Point of Contact.
Whoever is the main POC for a project, event, etc., is the person you need to go to with all your questions because they will have all the answers. Like a very specific, boring guru.
44. PTO: Paid Time Off.
This one represents the holy grail. Not having to go to work and getting paid for it. Now that's the life.
45. TL;DR: Too Long Didn't Read.
If you're known for writing long-winded novels instead of emails, people might start asking you for a tl;dr. This is business slang for, you wrote way too much and they just didn't have the time to read all that. To stay ahead of the game, you can put a tl;dr at the end of your message with a summary, like tl;dr Meeting on Monday about budgets.
46. ETA: Estimated Time of Arrival.
This business slang is often used for projects or people, as in, when is this project finally going to be complete, or when are you finally going to get here? ETA Thursday 2:00pm.
47. SOW: Scope of Work.
Usually found in contracts, especially with external contractors and consultants, this business slang represents all the specific details of what the team has to do and deliver on—milestones, deadlines, etc. in order to fulfill the obligations of a contract. Nothing more, nothing less.
48. SOP: Standard Operating Procedures.
You know that kid in elementary school who volunteered to be Hall Monitor? Or the one who reminded the teacher you had homework due? When that kid grows up, he'll work with you and remind you of the SOPs (and how you're not following them). They're the rules you're supposed to follow when completing a task.
49. EOD: End of Day.
"Uh, yeaaaah Peter... I'm gonna need that TPS report on my desk, by EOD."
This business slang can also be seen as EOBD, end of business day. It's usually used by "with it" managers to communicate deadlines—like Peter, you better have that forecasting sheet done by EOD or so help me.
50. Bomorrow: Next Business Day (Business day + Tomorrow).
Similar to the one above, this is business slang for the next business day; so if you send a request on a Thursday asking for the project to be delivered bomorrow, it means you want the work turned in on Friday. If you send the request on a Friday, it means Monday delivery.
51. EOM: End of Message.
This is the modern-day "Full Stop" from telegram days, it lets the person know when you're done with your messages. Bosses will use this a lot when they send you an email where their whole message is in the subject line - they'll include an EOM at the end to let you know you're not missing anything when you open the email and nothing is there.
52. NRN: No Reply Necessary.
If you just want to let someone know about something but don't need a reply, let them know with a quick NRN at the end.
53. PRB: Please Reply By.
Gives them a deadline to get back to you. Optional: claim dyslexia and bring cans of PBR to the next meeting.
"Marketing" Business Slang, Acronyms and Abbreviations
This entire section of marketing-related business slang is designed to help you sell you more things (and know what you're talking about), with less letters!
55. B2B: Business to Business.
This is all about who you're selling to. Business to business means you're selling your product or service to other businesses.
56. B2C: Business to Consumer.
Like the above, but this business slang term means you're selling your product or service straight to individual customers (end users).
54. SEO: Search Engine Optimization.
This business slang is only going to get bigger, so you better acquaint yourself with it now. Basically, it means creating and structuring the content of your website, so that it's more likely to show up high in search results when certain keyword phrases are searched for. You can even learn how to do keyword research and improve your blog SEO skills.
57. CPC: Cost per Click.
Ads, ads, ads. This business slang term is all about your acquisition cost from a paid online advertising channel, or rather, how much it costs to get someone to click on your ad. For example on Facebook ads, your CPC can range anywhere from $0.16 to well over $1.00+ depending upon the audience targeting, demographics, and various other factors. In my experience, the more targeted and specific your audience, the higher your CPC tends to be—but that's usually a good thing.
58. CR: Conversion Rate.
How successful are those marketing emails, anyway? If you ask a marketing pro for the CR on a specific email marketing campaign, they'll be able to tell you how many people (or orders) that campaign converted into sales. In short, this business slang term stands for the percentage of people that convert into paying customers.
59. BL: Backlink.
Backlinks are where the value is at on the modern web today. A backlink is a link to your site from another site—some people will pay through the nose, or work for years to land contributor spots at websites with high domain authority (#60 on our list of business slang), just for good backlinks. The more backlinks you have from authoritative (good) sites, the more your website will be trusted—and the easier it'll be to rank well in search engines.
60. DA: Domain Authority.
How do you know how your website stacks up against the competition? Well, checking your DA with a free tool like Moz's Open Site Explorer is a great place to start...
Your DA is a number assigned to the site, that tells you how authoritative it is on the internet—on a scale of 0 to 100. If you just started your website on a brand new URL this week, your DA is probably going to be 0 for a little while. Sites like Google and Facebook, two of the most trafficked sites in the world have a DA of 100. Simply put, this business slang term indicates your site's ability to rank well on search engines. You get the idea.
61. PR: PageRank.
This is another SEO-related business slang term that has to do with how good your site is, on a scale of 1 - 10. Developed by Google Search, this term has to do with how important individual webpages are, and this where it will rank in search engine results.
62. OWBL: One-Way Backlink.
This is a fancy way of saying a link that goes from one site to another, without your site reciprocating a link towards them. This is the creme de la creme of backlinks and gets you the most link juice.
63. Nofollow: A Nofollow Backlink.
Often employed by major publications and highly authoritative sites that don't want to "give" quality links out easily, a nofollow link doesn’t boost your site’s page rank or placement in search engines.
To check if a link is set to "rel=nofollow," highlight the link and right click on it. Then select "inspect," and you'll be able to check out the properties of the link in question, including whether or not there's a "rel=nofollow" tag applied to the link. If there is, then the link is worth significantly less from an SEO perspective.
64. IG: Instagram.
You know, the one all the cool kids are on these days.
65. FB: Facebook.
You know, the one all the parents and grandparents are on these days.
66. WOMM: Word of Mouth Marketing.
With minuscule investment and high rates of return, this business slang term is short for what can be the golden ticket in marketing. When a customer tells their friend they loved your product and recommend it to them, and they tell their friends, that's the ideal way for a product to take off—without spending a dime on advertising.
67. Collab: Collaboration.
This makes the rounds on blogs a lot, where people will collaborate on a project together and feature it on their websites.
68. RT: Retweet.
Twitter! Remember that thing? Retweeing someone's tweet means you liked the content and wanted to share it with all 17 of your Twitter followers too.
69. TBT: Throwback Thursday.
This one happens mostly on sites that support hashtags, like Instagram, with #throwbackthursday and #tbt. Sometimes brands jump on this business slang term to try and get in on the hashtag fun (usually with mixed results). A throwback Thursday post is a post of something that happened at some point in the past, usually months or years ago.
70. IM, DM, PM: Instant Message, Direct Message, Private Message.
Just another way to say that you messaged someone—some sites have DMs (direct messages), some have PMs (private messages), this business slang all means the same thing.
71. CTA: Call to Action.
The part at the end (usually the end of a blog post, email, or sales page) that tells you to do something! In marketing copy, it's usually "Go buy our product. Like now." Or a CTA can come in the form of signing up for an incredible free course... 😂
Want my free course on Finding a Business Idea?
Enter your email address below and you'll get instant access to my course that's been featured on Forbes, Inc and Entrepreneur.
"IT and Tech" Business Slang, Acronyms and Abbreviations
Most IT acronyms have to do with how stupid the IT person thinks the end user is. Are you surprised?
72. PEBCAK Error: Problem exists between chair and keyboard.
If you're looking at your chair and your keyboard and realizing that you're between them, you've got the idea.
IT workers will often use this business slang on a support ticket so they can accurately diagnose the problem and have a good laugh without getting in trouble.
73. UX: User Experience.
For tech workers and product designers, it's all about how the user is going to well... use the product. For that reason, they want to build the product in a way that gives the best possible user experience. That's why you'll hear product designers in particular, using the business slang term UX all the time—the user experience.
74. UI: User Interface.
This business slang has to do with how the user experiences the product too, but more specifically about how easy it is to use (i.e. how they interact with it).
75. 404: Error 404 Not Found.
This is business slang for an error that comes up when a website can't be found, but you'll see it in tech speak too. If you're totally lost after a meeting and your tech buddy asks what you thought about it, shoot back "404." He'll get it.
76. iD-10-T: Idiot.
Another sneaky ticket error code. When you see this business slang, your IT person just straight up thinks you're an idiot.
77. WYSIWYG: What You See Is What You Get.
Developers tend to use this business slang term when they're using an editor that lets them type in exactly what they'll see on the screen, at the end of their project once it's published. For added whimsy, you'll hear this one said out loud as "whiz-ee-wig."
More Everyday Business Slang, Acronyms and Abbreviations
We know there's a lot. Invest in flashcards... or maybe a flashcard app?
78. FTW: For the Win.
This one has slowly made it's way over from gaming, made before a winning play. Now it's used for anything you're winning at in life.
79. IDK: I Don't Know.
The next time someone shoots you a question over Slack, and you don't have any idea what the answer is, send them back a quick IDK. Save those thumb muscles for something more important, like video games obviously.
80. IDC: I Don't Care.
Slightly more rude than IDK, only send this business slang to people who won't take it personally (or seriously).
81. CYA: Cover Your Ass.
Terms and Conditions, liability waivers, all that stuff is to CYA. Or rather, your company's ass.
82. CYA: See ya.
Believe it or not, this one has a double meaning, so context is going to be your clue here. If your buddy says CYA at the end of a conversation, it's probably this one.
83. IIRC: If I Remember Correctly.
If you're pretty sure you have something right but don't want to be quoted on it, preface it with this business slang term, IIRC to CYA (cover ya ass).
84. K: Okay.
This is the sassier and pettier version of OK, letting the recipient know just how little time you want to put into your response. At the same time, this business slang implies that you still passive-aggressively agree to whatever they said.
85. NM: Not Much.
What do you have on your plate at the moment? NM. How much progress have you made on the quarterly reports? NM. How much would you care if you got fired? NM, clearly.
86. W/: With.
Use this w/ emails, texts, and whatever else you want. Just please don't say "w slash" out loud.
87. W/O: Without.
Same as the above, throw this in whenever you want to save your keyboard the wear and tear from five extra letters.
88. WTH: What The Hell.
HR forwards you all an email about the new stricter dress code policy—you shoot a message to your coworkers with this business slang, throwing in a WTH?? They'll get it.
89. WTF: What The Fuck.
The more R-rated bigger brother to WTH, use this not-so business slang for more R-rated situations.
90. N/A: Not Applicable or Not Available.
If someone asks for a work history on something that doesn't exist, it's N/A. If you're out of a product, it's N/A. You get the idea.
91. TBD: To Be Determined.
If you need to release something but don't have all the details sorted out yet, a quick shorthand for those pesky details is TBD. Another common use is to set a meeting with the time or location TBD.
92. Perf: Perfect.
We're not sure why those extra three letters were too much, but there you go. Perf.
93. JK: Just Kidding.
This one has withstood the test of time, appearing right around when texting did and hanging on ever since. Say a joke that could come across as a little mean? End it with a JK to make sure they know you aren't serious.
94. FWIW: For What It's Worth.
Kind of like IMO, use this one when you know you don't quite have the dominate opinion but you want to get your thoughts out there.
95. TY and Tks: Thank You.
If someone sends you something you needed but you're in a rush, compromise by sending a quick TY or Tks.
96. IKR: I Know Right.
Wow, Tammy says on Slack, this is way more complicated than it should be. "IKR?" you reply, and suddenly you're one of the cool kids, up to date on the hip new lingo with your fancy business slang. Congrats.
97. KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Bring this one out when things are just getting way too complicated and people are overthinking things. It's kind of like a golden rule, but with a little more sass.
98. LOL: Laughing out loud.
This simple indication that you're laughing has been around forever too, and is super quick to send back to whoever just sent you that hilarious meme. If it's really good, try "lolololol".
99. LMAO: Laughing my ass off.
A step above LOL, use this in those top-tier, actually-made-you-laugh-out-loud moments, to let the sender know.
100. F2F: Face to Face.
Don't want to set up a Skype call? Tell them you want to schedule a meeting F2F and grab a coffee.
101. TIGTBABMDYT - This Is Getting To Be A Bit Much, Don't You Think?
Ok, I agree... this is getting a bit much. I think we'll wrap it up here.
What'd I Miss?
Have more annoying business slang, acronyms, or abbreviations I might've missed?
Share with us in the comments!