HomeWhat does “TFW” mean, and how do you use it?

What does “TFW” mean, and how do you use it?

Ranta Images / Shutterstock.com

TFW is an Internet abbreviation that you will usually find in memes on social networking sites and across the web. But what does TFW mean, where does the acronym come from, and how do you use it?

It feels like when (or when that face?)

TFW is an Internet abbreviation that means “when they realize.” The acronym is usually accompanied by a humorous or emotional picture (as shown above), and is used to provide an emotional context for a situation.

In a way, TFW is more like a meme than a real abbreviation that you use in a sentence, like FOMO. This usually follows a strict form, where a sentence beginning with TFW often (but not always) is accompanied by an emotional image. This phrase may be related to your life, such as “TFW flood your bathroom”

This is not to say that TFW always follows a strict meme format. By itself, TFW indicates to readers that the message or post has an emotional context. Therefore, it is possible for “TFW” to make sense on its own without images or messages.

So in some cases, you can respond to ridiculous or hateful Facebook with a basic “TFW”. People who know what TFW means should understand that you are saying “This post is all right!” Similarly, you can reply to an unexpected message with “TFW” or reply to a funny picture with “TFW”.

TFW source

Some people swear that TFW is actually for “when that face”. And in a way, they can be right.

Back in 2009, people on the 4chan Music Board (called / mu /) started saying “MFW” or “When My Face”. Oddly enough, MFW was used the same way TFW is used today. People will post a funny picture of a face with a sentence like “MFW people call chess a game.”

Google Trends reports that the use of MFW has been on the rise since 2010 and has since been overtaken by TFW. Google Trends

Around the same time, the word “feeling” evolved into slag for the word “feeling.” Memes like “I know brother feels” began to spread on the Internet, and the image of the “Fells Guy” reaction became a common part of the Internet and stupid culture.

Like the MFW, the Fells Guy Mem was used to respond to emotional states. But when MFWs usually express hatred or fear, the Fells Guy meme was used to describe feelings of shame, doubt, sadness, or embarrassment.

Picture of the Falls cow.
Do you recognize this face? This is the old Fells cow. Get to know your meme.

Obviously, these two similar ideas became TFW in 2010 or 2011 – when TFW was first properly described in the Urban Dictionary. Although the grammatical use of TFW has not changed much since then, the term has become much broader. It is a useful abbreviation for expressing emotions on the Internet, a place notorious for its emotional blurring.

Related: What does “TLDR” mean, and how do you use it?

How do you use TFW?

If you throw TFW at the beginning of a sentence, readers will obviously look for emotional context. You could say “TFW refrigerator has no bologna,” or “TFW you’re almost at home and have low fuel light.” Either way, people will try to extract emotional meaning from the sentences.

Although you can use these phrases yourself, TFW works best when accompanied by an image or GIF. You can technically use any image, but it is better to use images of emotional faces. The more emotions in the picture, the easier it is for people to guess the right emotional context using TFW.

A man stares at his laptop, wondering how to use a TFW.
TFW You get a nice new word but don’t know how to use it. fizkes / Shutterstock.com

As mentioned earlier, you can also use TFW without any words or images. Just make sure there is a clear emotional perspective on the situation. Although talking about “TFW” dogs alone doesn’t make much sense, replying to “TFW” for a disturbing or compelling message is “out of my inbox” or “how do you expect me to?” “Answer that?” ”

TFW You get a whole new world of weird internet words. If you only understand the language that is commonly found online, check out our articles on terms like TLDR and YEET.

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