LOL (laugh out loud) internet slang.


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Added May 29, 2010 at 10:53PM EDT by Tomberry.

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LOL is an abbreviation for "laugh out loud," "laughing out loud" or sometimes "lots of laughs," used in messages to convey laughter. Since its first use online in the 1980s as a slang term, LOL has become one of the most popular abbreviations on the web and is common knowledge among most internet users.



The abbreviation "LOL" predates the internet and goes back to letter-writing, where it meant "lots of luck" or "lots of love."[1] LOL carries its own meaning in some foreign languages. In Welsh, "lol" means "nonsense." For example, if a person wanted to say "utter nonsense" in Welsh, they would say "rwtsh lol."

Earliest Online Use

In an article hosted on[2] titled "The origin of LOL," posted on an unknown date prior to 2008, a Canadian man named Wayne Pearson claims he's the inventor of LOL as an abbreviation for "laugh out loud," writing:

LOL was first coined on a BBS called Viewline in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in the early-to-mid-80s. A friend of mine who went by Sprout (and I believe he still does) had said something so funny in the teleconference room that I found myself truly laughing out loud, echoing off the walls of my kitchen. That's when "LOL" was first used.

Crediting himself and one of his friends on a Canadian BBS chatroom called Viewline as the ones who spread its usage as slang through chatrooms and Telnet-based channels, he adds:

The use of the phrase LOL spread quickly around Viewline, but it wasn't until a bunch of us got free GEnie accounts that it really became popular.

GEnie, back then, was one of the big online services at the time, similar to Compuserve and Prodigy. It had hundreds of chatrooms, including trivia rooms (run by script bots -- quite fancy at the time!) A bunch of us Viewliners found these rooms and, of course, our jargon mixed with the regulars of GEnie. (One thing that I took from there, and still use today, is "my" smiley -- *:^) )

At the end of the article, Pearson says there is no backup copy of the initial chat log in order to provide proof of his claim, leaving it as unconfirmed:

If I had any idea that such a thing would spread, I would have saved the original conversation that led to the acronym's inception. Alas, I don't even recall what was so funny! While I can picture in my mind where I was when it happened, I can't narrow the time down any further.

I don't expect you to believe this, really, as so many others don't. Still, it ought to be written out so there's at least a record of it somewhere on the Internet.

On May 8th, 1989, the earliest confirmed usage of LOL as an abbreviation of "laugh out loud" appeared on Page 10 of a FidoNews Newsletter,[3] in a section defining various online acronyms and slang terms (shown below).

:) - smile/happy :D - big smile or laugh - mischievious smile ;) - wink :* - frown/sad - pout :'( :( :C :> cry ;> - sly wink - kiss :0 - shout/yawn ]:> - devil/guilty :# - grimace/frustrated :P - sticking out tongue - tastes good :9 B) - glasses c% - coffee cup - shot glass - hug 0:) - angel/innocent - content disfavor/baffled not talking [] :I :/ :X - wide-eyed surprise [% :d 8) - mug - glass wine/cocktail glass U u Y ---<--<-@ long-stemmed rose drink sliding down bar Also worth considering are the following: - On Line Message - Oh I See - By The Way ROTF - Rolling On The Floor LMTO - Laughing My Tush Off - Away From Keys - Back At Keys BCNU - Be Seing You On De Move LTNT - Long Time No Type On The Way - HUH??? Laughing Out Loud Rolling All Over Be Right Back OLM OTW OIC H BTW LOL RAO BRB AFK BBL - Be Back Later ВАK WLCM - Welcome L8R - Later ODM отв - off Tо Bed TTFN - Ta Ta For Now RE - Again (Greetings, as in "re-hi") LTNS - Long Time No See M/F "Oh no! I've been morfed!!") - Male or Female (also known as 'MORFING', as in


LOL spread across the web naturally over the course of three decades through word-of-mouth and continued use.

It's unclear if the birth of other types of laughing acronyms, like ROFL or LMAO, were directly the result of LOL's increasing popularity on Usenets and other kinds of BBS.

On March 25th, 2011, the Oxford English Dictionary added the acronym to the dictionary along with OMG and FYI.[5]


As the usage of the acronym has increased, it has spread across the world with various translations of it documented on Wikipedia[4] and in the graph below. Most of these variants are typed in lowercase.

Language Тerm Description In Thai the number 5 is pronounced as 'ha'. Repeating it three times makes 'hahaha'. Thai 555 Abbreviation of the term 'asgarv' meaning intense laughter. Abbreviation of the word 'griner'which means laughing. Abbreviation stemming from 'mort de rire' which translates to 'dying of laughter'. Abbreviation of the word 'risos', the plural of 'laugh'. Repeating it (rsrsrsrsrs) implies more intense laughter. Also popular is kkk'. In Portuguese the letter k' sounds like the 'ca' in card, therefore representing Swedish asg Danish French mdr Portuguese rs the laugh 'cacaca'. In Chinese **(da xiao) meaning big laugh'is used. 大笑哈哈哈 A more widespread usage on internet forums is **'which sounds like 'hahaha'. LA makes the sound 'ha', and is strung together to create the sound 'haha'. The kanji for laugh ( *) was used in the same was as LOL. It is read as 'wara', hence the abbreviated Chinese Arabic LALA Japanese form 'w'. The letter j' is pronounced as 'h'. The 3 means that 'ha' is pronounced three times. Spanish jajajá Malaysian ha3

Usage as a Verb

In a manner similar to Fap slang, "LOL" has been transformed into a verb, with its own set of temporal conjugations: Lol as an infinitive, LOLed (often reduced to lol'd) for preterite and past participle, and Lolling as a present participle (examples of use as a verb below).

I LOL'D Did you? LOLD

In addition to its neologic verb form, several other modified versions of LOL, used in similar ways, have become popular, including "lolz," "lulz" (used to indicate confusion and laughter at once), "lawl" and kek (a World of Warcraft translation of LOL that became popular on 4chan).

LOL Lawful Good Lol lmao Chaotic Good Neutral Good haha Lawful Neutral lol True Neutral lel Chaotic Neutral kek huehuehue hehe! ) Lawful Evil Neutral Evil Chaotic Evil

Impact On Meme Culture

A number of memes use the acronym "lol" in some aspect of their format as it is easy to work into a phrase to change its initial meaning, and denotes comedy. A selection of memes that directly include LOL in their title or are popular due to the acronym include:

Decrease and Change In Usage

In 2016, Facebook conducted a study on whether people preferred using "lol," "haha," "hehe" or an emoji to convey laughter in their messages. The data, published by[6] on December 5th, 2016, showed "haha" to be the most popular, "emoji" second, whereas "lol" was the least used, evidencing a decrease in its popularity with the rise of emojis (graph shown below).

haha lol 51.4% 1.9% hehe 13.1% 33.7% emoji

On April 5th, 2019, Nicole Gallucci published an article to Mashable[7] about her tendency to type "lol" in messages involuntarily when nothing is evidently funny and exploring why people tend to do this, coining the phenomenon as being on "auto-lol" and evidencing the acronym's shifted and more casual intentions since the '80s.

Various Examples


Search Interest

External References

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