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ASL is a slang term and abbreviation for the phrase "As Hell." Typically associated with Zoomer or Gen Z internet slang, "asl" being attributed to the meaning "as hell" instead of its earlier more commonly known meaning of "age, sex, location" that's attributed to Millennials and early internet chatspeak caused the term to become contentious and confusing to some in the early 2020s as the "as hell" version spread on social media, particularly TikTok. The overwriting of the previous meaning with the new one has also led to numerous memes being created about how online culture is changing and resistance to the new meaning.
Though the exact time and post that started this changing of meanings regarding "asl" are unknown, Twitter user @PipeDownYo posted the first-known instance of not only someone linking "asl" to "as hell," but also complaining about it, saying that he was confused about it "for a while now" and calling it "stupid" on June 20th, 2018 (shown below).
After months of colloquial use as "asl" continued to spread online, on September 28th, 2018, Urban Dictionary user PureTalent14 added a definition that uses the phrase "as hell" as one of the definitions for asl, while also showcasing the other known meanings (shown below). The definition received over 850 likes and 170 dislikes in roughly four years.
Confusion about the phrase continued to grow in the following years, eventually becoming more widespread on TikTok in the early 2020s. TikToker celzmane uploaded the first known instance of asl meaning as hell to the platform on July 24th, 2020, in which he expressed his displeasure at the information while multi-colored lights strobe in the room, receiving over 22,400 likes and 560 comments in roughly two years (shown below).
In 2021 as the term became increasingly commonplace online, particularly TikTok, websites began covering the newer definition of the slang term in articles, including sites like Distractify and HITC.
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