For the past few years, Lara DiPaola has come home from her job in marketing and started her second job, as an unofficial translator for her 13-year-old-daughter, Katie.
Like many teens, Katie speaks in abbrevs — shortened or combined versions of words or phrases, popular in text messages and on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. It's up to DiPaola to fill in the missing letters.
"I'd say to my daughter, 'Katie, where did you leave the blow-dryer?' and she'd respond, 'IDK,'" said DiPaola, who lives in Severn. "It would take me a second to figure it out. She thinks in text."
Keeping up with slang has always been a struggle for parents. Now that many teens own smartphones, with instant access to tweets, status updates and texts, new abbrevs are popping up seemingly overnight, according to Barbara Greenberg, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating adolescents.
"Words morph into new words or develop more meanings when teens are texting up to 50 times a day at the very least," she said. "If I told my daughter that something was 'neat,' she'd laugh at me and think I was corny."
That's not to mention the abbrevs with expletives in them, which can be land mines for unknowing parents. DiPaola's 7-year-old son, Peter, sought out the definition of the expletive-containing phrase LMFAO after hearing it used so often by his older siblings.
"My older son, Ryan, made up the term 'Laughing Mothers Fathers And Others' to deter him," she said.
To help puzzled parents keep up with the ever-changing jargon, here is a list of seven of the latest abbrevs making the rounds — from "Yolo" to "OOMF" — complete with examples of how to use them.
Def: "You only live once." Coined by Canadian recording artist and actor Drake, this term can be used generously, unlike many others.
Ex: Did you have Fettuccine Alfredo for breakfast? Yolo. Did you just wear white before Memorial Day? Yolo.
"Shaking my head." This is used in situations where you don't know quite how to respond — synonymous to the action in real life.
You just sat in the stall for 45 minutes waiting for toilet paper? SMH.
Photos uploaded to social media websites (a combination of "mobile upload").
"You mupload way too much. You have too many mups on Facebook. Stop mupping."
Short for "random."
The individual at the party/at work/at your poker game who you swear no one knows. Usually used in a chant-like form (e.g., RAN-do, RAN-do, RAN-do, RAN-do).
"Is that a rando? Or is it your mom…"
Internet slang for "for the win," used in situations when someone is advocating strongly for something.
"I'd like a Coca-Cola, please."
"Are you kidding? Pepsi FTW!"
"Get on my level." Used as a form of trash talk in gaming, indicating that one's opponent is on a lower level and is therefore incompetent.
"I just drove to Los Angeles and back in the time it took you to finish 'The Sound and the Fury.' GOML."
A term used on Twitter that means "one of my followers".
Shout out to OOMF who just invited me to her party this weekend.