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The FBI's Jargon List: Internet Acronyms Galore 124

Posted by timothy
from the summer-internship dept.
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes Internet slang: Do you use it? If so, do it AYOR (at your own risk), because the FBI knows exactly what you're saying thanks to the agency's insane list of "Twitter shorthand." Rather than just rely on Urban Dictionary or a Google search, the agency has compiled an 83 page list of more than 2,800 acronyms. The FBI responded to a FOIA request with one of the most illegible scans of a document you'll ever see, embedded on a CD — so maybe the agency isn't all that up on its technology, or maybe it's just doing its best to KTAS (keep this a secret). Please use one of your favorites in a grammatical sentence referencing current events, and/or your favorite food, to help build up the corpus.
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The FBI's Jargon List: Internet Acronyms Galore

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  • BFF (Score:5, Funny)

    by skgrey (1412883) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:06PM (#47254973)
    According to the list, one of the translations of BFF is Big Fat Friend. Stephen Lynch would be proud.
  • f!
  • So basically the FBI is saying AYBABTU (All Your Base Are Belong To Us)?

  • is my go-to source for internet shorthand. Any reason the FBI's too good to just use that?
    • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:11PM (#47255015) Journal
      They are not allowed to use the Internet. It is not secure.
    • Re:Urban Dictionary (Score:5, Informative)

      by rubycodez (864176) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:13PM (#47255037)

      the Urban Dictionary says FBI can mean "Fucking Bunch of Idiots"

    • is my go-to source for internet shorthand. Any reason the FBI's too good to just use that?

      Urban dictionary is edited by volunteers, and there are no real guidelines for entries. So, I suppose it could infiltrated by terrorists, who pose as submitters and editors to hide the true meaning of some internet abbreviations they are using to communicate about their next attack...??

      (I'm being sarcastic here, but unfortunately knowing the U.S. government and current paranoia levels, this probably isn't far from their logic.)

      • by rtb61 (674572)

        Well that in and unto itself is arbitrary, as internet shorthand is group or association specific, so terrorist speak, will be differnet to teenage girl talk.

        A more clear example LOL
        Laugh Out Loud
        reÃr en voz alta
        laut lachen
        mort de rire
        ridete alta voce

        Clearly makes no sense in other languages.

        Just as a large exhaustive list makes no sense as many association, social group or language specifc and only a very few, will spread wider, LOL might well be one that does spread wider but then again we do

    • Re:Urban Dictionary (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:20PM (#47255095)

      One reason is for long-term retention of data. They might store case files for 20+ years before someone sees them again, at which point the detective working the case might not know what all of the acronyms mean. I mean, it was one thing for the 70s to use words like groovy or tubular in common vernacular, but today's kids are using acronyms up the wazoo. It's only natural that some with become popular and just as quickly fade into obscurity.

      However, if their database is wrong(translating BFF to Big Fat Friend for example), then it's kind of moot anyway. I mean, we would hope a detective wouldn't be standing there exclaiming "What the fuck does WTF mean!?" but that too is entirely possible if WTF goes away in a few years. But there are certainly more obscure acronyms and slang being used on the internet.

      That said, their *source* for these kinds of definitions should be places like urban dictionary(especially urban dictionary!), because their entire purpose is to define commonly used terms you won't find in a standard dictionary.

      • by Culture20 (968837)

        One reason is for long-term retention of data. They might store case files for 20+ years before someone sees them again, at which point the detective working the case might not know what all of the acronyms mean. I mean, it was one thing for the 70s to use words like groovy or tubular in common vernacular, but today's kids are using acronyms up the wazoo. It's only natural that some with become popular and just as quickly fade into obscurity.

        Reading old comics from the 60's, I caught on to most of the lingo slinging, but the word "Natch" confused me until just last year when I realized it was short for "naturally". And "hip" young characters like Johnny Storm or Spider-Man used to say "natch" a lot.

      • by cdrudge (68377)

        Even with a dictionary meanings can change over decades of time. "I'm having a gay time smoking a fag" means something entirely different now then what it did 4 or 5 decades ago.

        • by drakaan (688386)

          Not for nothin', but 4 or 5 decades ago was the 60's or 70's...9 or 10 decades ago, maybe?

        • by JTsyo (1338447)
          What did smoking use to mean?
          • by kwbauer (1677400)

            It has been used to mean kill or seriously injure or defeat in a big way.

          • by PhilHibbs (4537)

            In the context of "smoking a fag", if you take "fag" to mean "homosexual person", then "smoking" might mean "setting fire to" or "shooting". As in, "let's go smoke some gooks", as you might hear in a Vietnam movie.

      • by mythosaz (572040)

        However, if their database is wrong(translating BFF to Big Fat Friend for example), then it's kind of moot anyway.

        Now it's just a question if Moot is in there.

      • by weszz (710261)

        you may be surprised... I found FML reading Sammy the Seal to my kids.

        Printed back in the 60s, the page is that Sammy wishes he could spell, and has the blocks XFML in front of him. I thought it was incredibly funny, but couldn't tell my girls why... (too young for that kinda stuff)

      • >

        However, if their database is wrong(translating BFF to Big Fat Friend for example), then it's kind of moot anyway. I mean, we would hope a detective wouldn't be standing there exclaiming "What the fuck does WTF mean!?" but that too is entirely possible if WTF goes away in a few years.

        An interesting point. I was having a conversation with a neighbor yesterday about how, when I was younger, the acronym 'FTW' emphatically did not mean "For The Win." Rather it meant either "Fight The Whites" or "Fuck The World." So it seems that not only can these acronyms fade away, they can be used to give contradictory meanings as well.

        Also, I was interested to note that It's no longer VD (Venereal Disease) or even STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), but DRD (Dennis Rodman Disease). I'm sure Dennis r

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:11PM (#47255019) Homepage

    I grew up with this this list [nasa.gov]. It used to be on paper. That was kinda funny.

    I'm sure every TLA or FLA in the US has a similar LOA.

  • The document says it's something to help you "keep tabs on their children and grandchildren". Something tells me that this isn't actually used by the FBI.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      'children' is a shorthand for US Citizens.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    "The FBI responded to a FOIA request with one of the most illegible scans of a document you'll ever see" is A-OK, but when Lavabit used a very small font they got sanctioned

  • TL;DR (Score:4, Informative)

    by dragon-file (2241656) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:17PM (#47255069)
    IMHO the article was TL;DR and IANAL so TINLA but OMFG. AFAIK the FBI CRAT. Hence they made a BFDB so they could tell their employees to RTFM.
    • by Megane (129182)
      Or maybe YHBT. HAND. HTH.
    • by s.petry (762400)

      The shitty scan would prevent you from reading most of it anyway, which is bizarre in itself. Did the FBI give them a CD full of shitty scan data with poor resolution images so it can't scale? Trying to download the content I hit a auth wall requiring a ScribeD account.. I could probably find a different method of access, but it's not worth the effort for something trivial like this.

      Personally outside of the fact that the FBI actually answered a FOIA request I don't see this as "News" and especially not

    • you lost me on BFDB.. Big F'n Deal B ...? I got the rest.
    • by Shark (78448)

      (My Whole Answer To That Is An Acronym)

  • Let them try to figure those abbreviations out!

    (and yes, for you OCD-ers I made them up out of nothing).

    BTW, Does anyone use TTFN any more? that one far predates things like internets and even chatrooms.

  • Ever notice (with all the acronyms) how much language is looking more and more like PERL?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Depends on what you consider real language.

  • PG-13 (Score:5, Informative)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:39PM (#47255221) Homepage Journal

    Ha, it's not even a complete list, everything is "matured-down" to kiddy levels!

    For example, I was looking to see if DILLIGAF (Do I Look Like I Give A Fuck), but instead found DILLIGAD (Do I look like I give a darn).

    Yea, it really says, "darn."

    WTFIWWYM (What The Fuck Is Wrong With You Morons)?

    • by Ozrius (1225368)
      Is JEOMK even on the list?
    • Well, once I was thinking "WTF", but decided that wouldn't go over well with my audience (GF and her underage niece), so said "WTH" instead. Though I'm pretty sure the niece knew what I really meant.

      • One of my favorite all-time April Fool's websites was when The Daily WTF changed to The Daily WTH (the H of course being Heck). They said they were looking for a softer, more family-friendly image. It took me aback for a few seconds before I remembered the date.

    • by Trepidity (597)

      WTFIWWYM (What The Fuck Is Wrong With You Morons)?

      ACAB

  • by stevegee58 (1179505) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @12:49PM (#47255311) Journal
    They'll never catch me then. I speak a secret language called "Syntactically Correct American English", an archaic language no one understands any more.
    • They'll never catch me then.

      When will they never catch you? Are you referring to a period of time which you experience repeatedly, such that "they" will never catch you during that time? Are you traveling back to 1987 and committing crimes? Are you referring to your toilet in a hardened bunker and the fact that they'll never catch you when you're defecating? Or did you mean to type "They'll never catch me, then."?

      I speak a secret language called "Syntactically Correct American English", an archaic language no one understands any more.

      Ignoring the jokes about it being a secret language (your post renders it a formerly-secret language) and no one unders

      • by dnavid (2842431)

        They'll never catch me then.

        When will they never catch you? Are you referring to a period of time which you experience repeatedly, such that "they" will never catch you during that time? Are you traveling back to 1987 and committing crimes? Are you referring to your toilet in a hardened bunker and the fact that they'll never catch you when you're defecating? Or did you mean to type "They'll never catch me, then."?

        I speak a secret language called "Syntactically Correct American English", an archaic language no one understands any more.

        Ignoring the jokes about it being a secret language (your post renders it a formerly-secret language) and no one understanding it (clearly a few do, though you do not), you committed a few errors in that sentence as well. You should have typed "I speak a secret language called "Syntactically-Correct American English", an archaic language which no one understands any longer.".

        I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that everything in this post is syntactically correct, and that the language itself is not unambiguous.

        Actually, no it is not.

        Syntactically correct American English places the comma inside the quote, and single quotes within double quotes: "I speak a secret language called 'Syntactically-Correct American English,' an archaic language which no one understands any longer." British English places the comma outside the quote. Furthermore, the double period is incorrect in either version of English as is the use of double quotes within double quotes.

        Second, semantically speaking its more proper to use "that" ov

        • You're wrong. You're following various "style guides". They are not authorities on the language, nor do their recommendations improve it in any objective way. Moving punctuation to the inside of a quotation is absurd - quotations are exact references and altering them defeats their entire purpose. Alternating between single and double quotation marks is altering the quotation, so it should not be done. It also does nothing to remove ambiguity, it just buries it one level deeper (or makes it worse in so

          • by dnavid (2842431)

            There's nothing more pathetic than someone trying and failing to police the grammar police.

            Self-annihilating irony seems to contradict that statement.

    • They'll never catch me then. I speak a secret language called "Syntactically Correct American English", an archaic language no one understands any more.[Emphasis Added]

      Are you referring to this [usatoday.com] guy?

  • I prefer the current, genteel Internet - one where people are well-spoken and polite. I don't want it to become a cesspool of jargon and shorthand. Sure, you may think acronyms are harmless, but if they ever catch on... next thing you know, people will be putting numbers and symbols in place of letters, or even (God forbid) substituting one letter for another!

  • There is just NO EXCUSE for this. Someone else pointed out this is no better than the shit lavabit pulled with their font size. However, this is worked, a too small but legible font can be magnified and processed....an illegible document may as well not have been produced.

    However, now that I see sharepoint....so sharepoint...they had this in electronic form and could have easily produced a perfectly legible document and chose not to.... nice guys....way to show you give a shit about compliance with the law

    • by Megane (129182)
      But they would have had to give you their sharepoint password! After all, TANSTAAFL.
    • They went online got the data, printed it on a dot matrix printer, then scanned it with a cheap hand scanner, then posted it online.

      Sounds like the government to me.

  • I'm really disappointed to enter the comments and see we're missing any xkcd mention. By the way, what does xkcd mean? :D
    • Loosely it translates to "almost all sensible four letter domain names are taken or occupied by domain squatters".

  • MUAACMU - Meaningless Unimportant Acronyms Anyone Could Make Up

  • by shoppa (464619) on Tuesday June 17, 2014 @01:31PM (#47255753)
    According to the FBI list, preferred expansion of LOL is "Lots of Love". Example usage inside the FBI complex: Your co-workers father has passed after a long illness. Suggested text message: "Heard your dad died: LOL."
  • FUDS (Fuck you damn spooks)?

    Gonna hear it a lot, might as well get used to it.

  • I vaguely recall that years ago, Microsoft - could have been just an initiative of the local branch, though! - published a web page for parents along the lines of "how to recognize that your child is an online hacker" or something like that, starting with an advice to look for signs of "1337 sp34k" in their e-mails and texts, with a "helpful dictionary". It was full of genuine pearls like some of these. :-)
  • ....But!!! FLA (4 letter acronym) is only 3... :(
  • I like the use correct English all the time and always wonder what on earth half of the IRC channels are talking about. So I would like to say thanks FBI for the reference guide 3 saves me some leg work haha
  • They can go VJS their KWPA until their steaming RLL drips burning BAML out of their rotting PYPN!

  • I am anaspeptic, frasmotic, even compunctuous to have caused you such pericombobulations.

  • by Draugo (1674528)
    I don't know which I find more hilariously sad. The fact that FBI refuses to comply with FOIA request by providing this shitty scan... or the fact that FBI feels the need to sensor the word fuck in their acronym list :)

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