What does lol mean? Internet abbreviations and acronyms

Acronyms like ‘lol’ are widespread on the Internet and appear again and again in forums, chats, and social media. They’re a convenient way for users to communicate without a lot of text. Most abbreviations and acronyms have their origins in the early days of the Internet, when character and time limits played a bigger role and emojis hadn’t yet come about.

But what does lol stand for? And how do you use it in conversation? We’ll help you to decode Internet jargon.

What does lol stand for?

What does lol mean? The expression stands for ‘laughing out loud’ or ‘laugh out loud’ and is used to signal that the user finds something very funny. As its name suggests, the expression was originally used when someone found something so funny that they had to laugh out loud. In the meantime, it has become used in much the same way as ‘haha’.

How to use lol

Lol is often used as a reaction to a funny situation or anecdote and is meant to stand in for laughing. The acronym can also be used to introduce an amusing story or signal the use of humour. Here are some examples from WhatsApp chats:


If it gets straining to constantly type on your smartphone, you can use your favourite messenger and chat apps on the computer, for example with WhatsApp for desktop. Not a fan of WhatsApp? There are a number of alternatives to the popular messenger, so that’s no reason to keep you from digital laughs.

What does lol mean? – lal, lel, lul …

You’ll find lol in all kinds of spellings: lowercase (lol), all caps (LOL) or capitalised (Lol). Caps, inserting extra Os or Ls (looool or lolllll) and extensions (lolololol) are meant to emphasise the intensity of the reaction - that is, just how funny the user finds the situation. In addition, there are several variants of lol that are common on different parts of the Internet:

  • LAL
  • LAWL
  • LEL
  • LELZ
  • LOOL
  • LOLZ
  • LUL
  • LULZ

The fundamental meaning remains the same for all of these different spellings.

As with most abbreviations from Internet language, lol has been integrated into many languages worldwide. Some languages adopt the words in their own script (for example, ‘лол’ in Russian) and some translate it into their own language and then create an acronym based on that (for example, ‘mdr’ in French, which stands for ‘mort de rire’, in English ‘died laughing’).

Other abbreviations and acronyms on the Internet

Lol isn’t the only frequently used acronym on the Internet - there are a number of short forms that are part of the common online vocabulary. Here are some other common chat acronyms:

Acronym Full expression Use
rofl Rolling on the floor laughing Similar to lol but stronger. Used when something is very funny.‘She just rand into the door rofl’.
lmao Laughing my ass off Similar to lol and rofl but stronger. Used when something is extremely funny.‘lmao he came to school today in his pyjamas’.
afk Away from keyboard When someone will be away from their computer or phone for a while and wants to inform others that they might not respond right away.‘I’ll be afk’.
imho In my humble/honest opinion Used to introduce your opinion.‘Imho it’s one of the worst films on the topic.’
asap As soon as possible Used to express that something is urgent.‘I’m going to need that ASAP.’
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