Some of us may have all the newest lingo down. Addicted to Reddit, they've got the whole web in our hands. But others among us have less familiarity with some of the terms and abbreviations that pepper the site.
This glossary will help you navigate Reddit terms that you may encounter as you surf, though it will likely be out of date again itself within a week or two. Rather than running to Google or Urban Dictionary each time you see something you don't comprehend, you can just refer to this run-down for a quick explanation.
And if there are terms, abbreviations or other constructs that we haven't included here (we know there are) or that come up in the future (there will be), please let us know in the comments.
But for now, here's our rundown of some of the most popular Reddit terms:
- UPDATE: AYNIL: By popular demand from the Reddit community, we have reluctantly decided to add the term AYNIL, aka All You Need is Love to our Reddit glossary. A certain BetaBeat reporter and a colleague of hers at Reddit alerted me to certain inaccuracies in this story, so we hope this explanation of the term AYNIL will clear those up.
- TL;DR: This one pretty much speaks for itself once you know what it stands for: Too Long; Didn't Read. Seen often on Reddit and other message boards and online communities, it indicates a summary of a preceding text. In other words, if you see a long thread posting that you don't feel like reading, or that you would like to know ahead of time whether it's going to be worth reading, look for a TL;DR toward the end (often in bold) where you'll be able to get the point by reading a condensed version. Very useful feature.
- Karma: This is the amount of good will that you have accumulated on Reddit. Karma is granted when people up-vote or down-vote your postings and comments on your site. Positive karma is acquired via up-votes, which represent people's approval of your post, comment or other participation on the site. Some people are obsessed with karma, but it's really just an unnecessary but fun part of the world that is Reddit. Kinda like picking up coins in Super Mario Brothers or rings in Sonic the Hedgehog.
- IAmA (n) / AMA: This terminology is basically exclusive to Reddit, and these two abbreviations are usually found together in the name of a specific thread. IAmA means just that: I am a (or an). And AMA means ask me anything. So here's an example from the March 29 homepage to help illustrate how this works: IAmA(n) astrobiologist, AMA. That construction indicates that if you click on that thread you will be taken to a question-and-answer session with a astrobiologist, who is accepting any and all questions. The questions are voted on by other Reddit users, who can up-vote or down-vote them, and the astrobiologist will be most likely to answer the questions that have been voted highest up.
- TIL: Usually followed by the word that, TIL means Today I Learned. This construct is used often in the names of Reddit threads to indicate that the poster is enamored with a specific idea, often one that seems incongruous with what people may expect, or that may blow people's mind. For instance, to use an example that made the Reddit homepage on March 29: TIL that in 1830 the average American was guzzling the equivalent of 1.7 bottles of hard liquor per week means that the poster just gleaned that tiny tidbit of information. We would, however, prefer that it be changed to mean Totally In Love, as that's way cooler.
- YOLO: This stands for You Only Live Once. It is often used to draw attention to the fact that what is being referenced is something really interesting or engaging, or as an excuse for taking a stupid or questionable course of action.
- Fap: This one needs little in the way of explanation. Basically, Fapping is Internet slang for masturbation. That's all you really need to know about that.
- GGG: This is getting deeper into the rabbit hole, but GGG is one of many newer Reddit abbreviations that have come into common circulation on the site because of the proliferation of Quickmeme images. Quickmeme is a service that allows you to put a message over a photograph in order to create a humorous juxtaposition, known as an image macro. One of the most popular such memes is known as Good Guy Greg, which depicts a young man smoking a joint who has been imbued over time with a fictional uplifting demeanor, to great comic effect. Despite the incoherency of this explanation, we hope you've learned a bit about where GGG and other such meme-based abbreviations come from.
The above is just a primer on some of the commonly-used terms you may encounter while using Reddit. Please let us know in the comments if you have any others we should take the time to try to explain.