The Internet Acronym That Leaves Most People Shaking Their Heads


People use acronyms to save time when writing, but sometimes these verbal abbreviations waste the reader’s time by forcing them to look up the meaning.

A new study by a social media education company How outgoing analyzed Google searches of common internet acronyms to discover the most confusing ones. To perform this critical work, they analyzed the number of searches for each standalone acronym in combination with search terms such as “what does the acronym mean,” “meaning of the acronym,” and “what does the acronym stand for.”

The results: SMH was the most common cause of head scratching—or head shaking.

SMH, “shake my head,” is commonly used in chat, text, and other forums when someone is disappointed or frustrated with the conversation, a situation, or another person. The official Merriam-Webster dictionary definition states that SMH is “used to convey a sense of amused disbelief.”

The phrase is often accompanied or replaced by a hand-to-face emoji. Variations on SMH include “scratching my head” and the less kid-friendly SMDH (“shaking my damn head”).

The study found that SMH generated an average of 802,858 searches per month, or 9.6 million searches per year.

Related Topics: Don’t say it: These are the most annoying business buzzwords, according to a new survey

The 10 Most Confusing Acronyms

Just behind SMH on the list of the most confusing acronyms was “TBH” with 306,085 searches per month across America. TBH stands for “to be honest” and is commonly used to express openness or honesty.

The third most searched acronym is POV, which is googled about 284,475 times per month in the US. Content creators have used this term for years to describe the “point of view” of the camera. POV videos are shot from the viewer’s first-person perspective.

But on TikTok and other social media platforms, POV has been used by some YouTubers to refer to a skit about a person in an awkward or embarrassing situation. An example might be an unfortunate encounter in the emergency room or prom.

@caroline_easom #pov #fyp #doctorsoftiktok #Comedy #Parody #Satire #Comedian #Sketch #sketchcomedy #Actor #Physician ♬ Original sound – Caroline

Here’s a look at the top 20:

Courtesy of How Sociable

“With new acronyms popping up all the time, it will be interesting to see which ones stand the test of time and which ones fall out of style,” said a How Sociable spokesperson.

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