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Diff is an abbreviated slang form of the word "difference" that has been used in the gaming communities for trash-talking purposes. The word, paired with an indication of a players role (such as "tank diff" "dps diff," "jungle diff" etc.), is used to convey that the player on the trash talker's team is performing worse than the player in the same role on the opposing team. The word gained particular prominence in the League of Legends and Overwatch communities, and also has been used as a part of powerscaling memes.
The slang word "diff," standing for skill difference, has been used in the League of Legends community at least since 2017. For example, on August 20th, 2017, League of Legends player Christian "IWDominate" Rivera used the word on Twitter to discuss a recent match (shown below).
The term gained more prominence in the League of Legends community in late 2020s, mainly being used to trash talk teammates by implying that there's a skill difference between them and an opposing player in the same role on the other team. For example, on December 2nd, 2018, streamer jaehyung made a tweet that gained over 30 retweets and 140 likes in four years (shown below, left). On April 8th, 2019, Redditor /u/kleankill tweeted an Abbacchio joins the kicking meme that received over 300 upvotes in the /r/LeagueOfMemes subreddit in four years (shown below, center). On January 21st, esports caster Josh Leesman made a tweet that received over 770 retweets and 10,000 likes in three years (shown below, right).
The term spread beyond the League of Legends community in 2020, achieving popularity in the Overwatch community as well (examples shown below). On January 8th, 2021, Urban Dictionary user Garry McDonalds-Burger added a definition for the term. The definition garnered over 430 thumbs up in two years.
Moira mains losing a match and saying "gg tank diff" after dealing 25,321 damage & 3,054 healing. pic.twitter.com/MHcgCHezJD
— SWL (@SomeoneWhoLeaks) October 12, 2022
Additionally, the term gained popularity as a part of powerscaling memes, with "no diff," "low diff," "mid diff" and "high diff" being used to sum up the result of the battle. For example, on January 20th, 2022, TikTok user singlephoenix posted a meme that gained over 9.7 million views and 1.3 million likes in one year (shown below, left). On September 30th, 2022, TikTok user frankxemdb posted a meme that received over 864,000 views and 65,400 likes in eight months (shown below, right).
 Twitter – @IWDominate
 Twitter – @NALanguage
 Twitter – @esportsjatt
 TikTok – @singlephoenix
 TikTok – @frankxemdb
May 17, 2023 at 12:02AM EDT
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