What is the meaning of "AFK"? History of the Internet acronym and how to use it in chat

What is the meaning of “AFK”? History of the Internet acronym and how to use it in chat

Feeling out of the loop is never fun, and seeing acronyms often thrown online can easily invite that feeling. But taking a few seconds to learn them can help you communicate information quickly.

One of these acronyms is AFK. Here’s what you need to know to understand and use this acronym in your online life.

The meaning of AFK

AFK is an acronym that means “away from the keyboard”. But it is mainly meant to communicate that you will not be available on your computer or device for a period of time. You can combine it with a time frame to communicate how long you will be away from the keyboard.

The origin of AFK

The AFK acronym has been around since the early days of internet culture, particularly in chat rooms in the 1990s.

It even goes back to an online newsletter from FidoNews in 1989 , along with other emoticons and abbreviations. The newsletter defined AFK as “out of the way”.

It was later commonly used in the gaming community for online multiplayer games. You can still find it in various spaces on the internet, although it is not as widespread as it once was.

The acronym has had a bit of a revival, thanks to the game “Among Us”, in which inactive players are often labeled as AFK.

Examples of how to use AFK

Like any other abbreviated term, AFK is easy to introduce into your online lexicon.

For example, if you are taking a short break, you might type “going afk brb” (read as: “going off the keyboard, come back now”).

Or, if a friend wonders where another person is in the group, you could type in “she is afk” to quickly let them know that person is not online.

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