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The Internet Dictionary: What Does WTW Mean?

Another cyber slang term has arrived on the block.

6 November, 2022

There is another abbreviation on the block that the cool kids are using. Or at least, the Gen-Z kids. According to Urban Dictionary, WTW only dates back to 2016 so it’s fairly plausible that you have never heard of it before. Although it may be most popular on the social media app, Snapchat, it’s worth figuring out what it actually means.

As with most abbreviations covered by The Internet Dictionary, there isn’t only one meaning. The good thing is they all mean something positive and can be used in very similar contexts.

Below, we’ll take you through the most popular uses of the cyber slang:

Meaning #1: What’s the Word?

The first use of the term is another way of asking “What’s up?”, the abbreviated “’Sup”, “What’s going on?” or slang “What you sayin’?”.

Rather than taking it literally, the “word” actually relates to the current or near-future plans someone has or what they are occupied with.

As with other cyber slang, WTW is mostly used informally in conversation between friends or acquaintances (i.e. people with some degree of familiarity). It is used to start conversations and is generally a good opener used via text message, social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram or Twitter, gaming chat forums or even dating apps like Hinge, Tinder or Bumble.

For instance, WTW or wtw can be used in the following example contexts:

     1. Where WTW is the main topic of the conversation: “Heyy wtw! It’s been ages!” or “I heard you’re back in town, WTW? Let’s catch up soon”.

     2. Where WTW is used in the middle of a sentence: “Aww I remember this picture. Wtw, I miss you!”

Importantly, WTW implies an intention or eagerness to plan something with the recipient of the message either the same day or very soon. Whereas “what’s up” can be used loosely without any expectation of initiating plans with the recipient, WTW is more pressing and active. Just remember, the way you would respond to WTW would be the same as if someone asked “what’s up”.

     3. Where WTW is used situationally in terms of making social plans: “So I heard you’re free this weekend, wtw?” or “Wtw tonight?”

     4. Where WTW is used to check or probe the estimated time of arrival (ETA) or a status update on something or someone: “Hey, all good? WTW?”

Meaning #2: What’s the Wave?

The second meaning is almost identical to the first, where “word” is substituted with “wave”. So rather than asking what’s the word, you ask, what’s the wave?

Practically, it is used in exactly the same context so all the above examples would apply and make sense even if this version of WTW is being used. So if someone asks you “wtw tonight?” or what “wave” you are on, it’s reasonable that they intend to make social plans with you pretty soon.

You might expect to hear the “word” version in slightly more mature trendy, hip crowds due to the heavy usage of “word” in American rap culture.

By contrast, the “wave” equivalent might be more commonly used by a younger audience given its associations to more of a chill, surfer dude.

Meaning #3: What the What!

The third meaning is a little odd: it involves the repetition of the word “what”, used for dramatic effect as a substitute for a curse word.

Just as someone might exclaim “WTH” (what the heck/hell) or “WTF” (what the f*ck), they might also say “WTW”.

Similarly, it can also be used as a question with the same dramatic effect: e.g. “WTW?! Are you serious?” to express surprise or shock.

It seems to be a PG-rated version of WTH and WTF and could be used among younger crowds, or even ironically among older crowds as a deliberate subversion of the F-word. This might be particularly prevalent on social media apps like TikTok to avoid getting content flagged by the content moderators if there are young viewers.

As with its sibling abbreviations WTF and WTH, it can also be used in lowercase in this context. There aren’t really any rules for how you spell it to express shock or surprise. Similarly, when used in this context it doesn’t require a direct answer from the recipient as it is not the main function of the question or statement.

Other less common meanings:

Worth the Wait: somewhat self-explanatory, something was definitely wtw!

Woman to Woman: wtw advice or support, can also be used as a hashtag on social media like TikTok and Twitter for specific woman-to-woman content #wtw.

Walk through Walls: used in a very niche gaming context.

Walk this Way: can also be used by gamers in the context of gameplay, or otherwise in terms of giving directions or navigating Google or Apple Maps.



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