|Languages||English, with some use in other languages|
|Time period||1980 to the present|
Leet (1337) is a sociolect variety used primarily on the Internet, particularly in online games. The term itself is derived from the word Elite, meaning “better than the rest,” and generally has the same meaning when referring to the skills of another person.
Leet can be defined as the perturbance or modification of written text. For example, the term leet itself is often written l33t, or 1337, and many other variations. Such perturbations are frequently referred to as “Leetspeak.” In addition to modification of standard language, new colloquialisms have been added to the parlance. It is also important to note that Leet itself is not solely based upon one language or character set. Greek, Russian, Chinese, and other languages have been subjected to the Leet variety. As such, while it may be referred to as a “cipher,” a “dialect,” or a “language,” Leet does not fit squarely into any of these categories. This article primarily concerns the English Language variant of Leet.
Calling someone or something leet may be considered a compliment, although it is not uncommon to find it used in an ironic, derogatory manner.
- 1 Origins of Leet
- 2 Sociological considerations
- 3 The Leet cipher and syntax
- 3.1 Common transliterations
- 3.2 Word endings
- 3.3 Grammar
- 3.4 Vocabulary
- 4 Example sentences in Leet
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Origins of Leet
Leet finds its base in written communication over electronic media. Most simply, it has evolved as a way of forming exclusive cliques in online communities, notably Bulletin Board Systems and online multiplayer games (see Examples of Leet in videogaming).
It has been noted that the mechanism began because early online communication was quite slow, and people sought ways to shorten messages, so that they could be delivered more quickly. A similarly probable answer is that early users of BBS systems and other online boards were not skilled typists and thus shortened words so they could get their message across faster.
Some wrongly believe that the origin involved using a dynamic cipher, so that only experienced users would be privy to the message . As a result, newcomers would be excluded from communication with those who had defined (and continued to evolve) the cipher.
When modem use became widespread and a large general audience gained access to online communication systems, these new users did not understand the abbreviations commonly used by the experienced users. These experienced users became known as “elite users,” abbreviated as leet.
Primitive Leet was generally much less elaborately substituted than modern forms. Typical transpositions included
- f / ph (“fone phreaks”)
- z / s (generally only in the final position, i.e. phi1ez, but not za1ezman)
- 1 / l (usually only once in a word, i.e. 1iar)
- c / k (krap as opposed to crap, and cill in place of kill)—sometimes x is substituted instead, giving xrap or the like
- s / c (sex as cex)
- 0 / o (n00b instead of noob or newb)
For users of the Commodore 64 or the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, communities began to use PETSCII pictographic characters as letter substitutes. Over time these tendencies of replacing letters became increasingly exaggerated.
Another early phenomenon was the prefix “k-” (for kilo) to some words, the most common and enduring example being k-rad. The roots of the term k-rad are most likely mocking of the mid- to late-1980s use of the term radical (compare extreme of the 1990s), which was itself abbreviated to rad. V. was also used, as an abbreviation for very. This may have come from the v. in modem protocols, possibly via v.fast, although it's also a longstanding usage in British English so may have spilled over into American leet via increased international communication.
After the emergence of Leet on bulletin boards and other non-real-time communications media, Leet found a sort of renaissance in real-time protocols such as Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and Instant messaging (such as AIM).
Through this process, Leet acquired an increasingly expanding vocabulary. As Internet slang grew (such as w00t, teh, and so on), it was absorbed into Leet (and subsequently enciphered). Along the way, additional languages began to be enciphered with Leet-like processes (see krieg, ist below). In this regard, Leet resembles a creole language, a pidgin, or mixed language.
In addition to the broader vocabulary, Leet's ciphers became even more complex and dynamic. Where originally, a one-to-one relationship existed between the source and cipher text (such as E → 3), newer one-to-many and many-to-many ciphers began to emerge (such as A → @, 4, and so on).
Several outside sources have been instrumental in the formation and evolution of Leet. Primarily, the exclusive nature of enciphering text in communities drove this evolution. Additionally, in online communities where certain text was forbidden (such as swearing), newer, more clever ciphers had to be created to prevent software limitations from hindering communication. The same sort of evolution has been spurred by e-mail content filters which may prevent a user from including certain words in their written communication. As such, in addition to the socially exclusionary properties of using a cipher, it may be said that Leet is used as a means to defeat regular expression engines used for matching content in written communication.
More recently, the exclusivity of Leet has been reduced. As Leet has become popular in the common Internet vernacular, many users who would previously have been excluded by enciphered text have caught on to the cipher. Even highly irregular ciphers (see below for a full discussion of various ciphers) have proven to be easily decipherable by users determined to do so. Because of this, using Leet in discussion has become a bit of a novelty or joke. Users have begun using Leet to indicate that they are part of the Leet-using counterculture, or to parody or mock its existence thereof.
Curiously, as Leet's effectiveness as a cipher has waned, it has evolved due to its continued use in communities which tend to value it solely for humor value. The process of using Leet for humor, combined with its highly flexible and dynamic nature, causes it to metamorphose into further derivations of its original cipher. Ergo, as Leet evolves, its vocabulary expands, and new expressions begin to emerge and solidify from older constructs.
[[Image:Jeopardy-1337.jpg|thumb|An example of 1337 in Jeopardy.]]
Because of the problems surrounding its lack of a spoken component and what can been seen as ethnocentric beginnings, there has recently been something of a stigma attached to use of Leet. Because of its popularity with children, parenting organizations have seen fit to warn parents about the cipher. Parents, it is reasoned, may not be able to understand what their children are saying in e-mail, SMSs, or instant messaging, and dismiss it as nonsense. Guides have been published to help parents decipher their children's Leet-enciphered communication.
Leet has become such a part of common culture that the cipher is used even in mainstream advertising, such as the Sears Kenmore "HE4T" washing machine and dryer. The entertainment industry has also joined in, with Numb3rs, Se7en and S1M0NE.
Arguably, one of the first practical uses of Leet was on the BBSs of the late 1980s. On public BBSs, administrators would frequently search for illegal or otherwise undesirable material and remove it. To combat this, many terms that are now common terminology in Leet appeared. Wares would become W4R3Z, porn would become pr0n, exploits would become spl01tz, etc. Leet continued to evolve in this fashion, so when the new terms were picked up by administrators, they were quickly replaced. An additional use in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s was in chat rooms that had filters enabled that were designed to block profanity. The obfuscated words would not be censored, though their meanings remained generally intact.
A more modern and legal use of Leet is as a cipher that is opaque to computer systems. Computer security systems often disallow the use of common English words as passwords. Leet's use as a way of ciphering English words and phrases as strings of punctuation characters can make it useful as a means of creating memorable passwords that such systems will accept. A system that will refuse “Now is the time” as a password will often be quite happy to accept “|\|0\/\/ 15 7|-|3 71|\/|3”.
Another location for similar text obfuscation is in multiplayer gaming, especially involving other characters not contained in the ASCII set. Some multiplayer games allow for users to be kicked out by issuing a simple command such as “!kick [a username].” To foil this method, some users have resorted to making their usernames difficult to type. An example of this would be “É|ï†è HàЖor”. Because typing such a name would require using the character map, which is difficult to access in some games, the user can become virtually impossible to kick off the server. However, on many modern games they may be kicked by selecting them in a menu.
On occasion in multiplayer gaming, the action can be too intense for the player to properly express themselves with “standard” English in a timely manner. Utilizing leetspeak, the player is able to abbreviate what they wish to communicate without severely interrupting their game.
Similarly, simple Leet is often found on websites selling or distributing pirated software or cracks, and in the unwelcome solicitations of email spam. Some examples of solicitation Leet are: “W1ndOws 20OO”, “Ph0t0sh0p”, “Natura1 Pen0r en1argement pi11”. Note that this type of leet tends to be simple and easy to read, as it is intended to foil computers but communicate to potential customers.
The Leet cipher and syntax
The Leet cipher is a highly dynamic, subjective cipher. It can be applied to many languages and character sets. As it incorporates new vocabulary and morphemes, the set of transliterations and corruptions increases. As the cipher was originally based upon English and the Latin alphabet, it is possible to derive a very basic set of common transliterations and corruptions.
The cipher itself is highly dynamic, and subject to stylistic interpretation. A simple list of transliterations follows:
Note: Leet is not standardized, thus variations of the following transliterations may exist or be created.
|A||B||C||D||E *||F||G||H||I *||J||K||L *||M||N||O||P||Q||R *||S||T *||U||V||W||X||Y||Z *|
|* Note the use of 7 for either L, T, or Y; the use of 2 for either R or Z; the use of £ for either E or L; the use of 9 for either G or P; and the use of 1 for either I, L, or T. The Position of ~ may change depending on the font|
J, Q, and Y typically are not transliterated and are often used as themselves. There are some common Leet alternatives for other sounds, e.g. ck is often replaced with an X (based on the Greek letter Chi) as in haxor and suxors (hacker and sucks/suckers). The xx in haxxor can also mean ck, thus, hacker.
Additionally, letters in the middle of words may be transposed. This has become the subject of some discussion in the linguistics community . While the intentional transposition of letters in language is novel, Davis and Rawlinson have demonstrated that readers of most languages are capable of understanding the meaning of a word, provided complex phonemes and diphthongs are not corrupted. Because the meaning is easily conveyed, even with severe corruption of the original wording, the transpositions and substitutions can become quite elaborate.
Many of the transposed characters cannot be typed simply on the computer. In Microsoft Windows, they must be inserted via Alt Codes or the Character Map. The Keyboard Viewer in the Mac OS (both X and Classic) displays the key combinations necessary to type special characters.
Use of xor and zor
The suffix -xor (also -zor, or other variations thereof) can be used, like the standard English -er and -or, to derive an agent noun from a verb, such as pwnzor or haxor, meaning one who pwns or hacks, respectively. It can also be suffixed to the stem of any verb, with no apparent change in meaning. The resulting verbs can be conjugated as regular English verbs.
Using ri in combination with xor brings about long suffixes for higher levels of irony (e.g., “I am the suxorixorage”). The suffix -izzle may also be added to words in the same way as xor. This practice entered the popular culture based on rapper Snoop Dogg's use of the slang.
Some insist that xor was created as a divination from other abbreviations; e.g. X meaning cross and O + R with an implied V between them, altogether meaning crossover, a clever synonym for anything translated into leet(1337-5p34k).
In the phrase “rox0r your b0x0rz,” b0x0rz may not refer to boxers (i.e. underwear) but might refer to boxes (in computer slang: computers, though boxen or b0x3n may be more commonly used in this context). The more naïve interpretation "rocks your boxers" is still meaningful, however, as the sentiment is much the same and is often used to carry a connotation that one was 'rocked' so hard they felt it in their boxer shorts. This is also similar to the phrase "to scare one's pants off".
Use of the -age suffix
A verb may be changed to a noun simply by adding -age, or an adjective to a noun with -ness. For example, speak becomes speakage or Leet becomes Leetness, as in “I know Leetness speakage,” meaning, “I know Leetspeak.” The addition of this suffix to the lexicon of popular culture is attributed to Pauly Shore.
The -age suffix has also been attributed to the punk/hardcore/emo band The Descendents, and sometimes with the band All. The lead singer of the former, Milo Aukerman, possesses a Ph.D in biochemistry, and comically associates the band and himself with nerds and geeks. Members of the band have been involved with computers and software since the early 1980s. The Descendents commonly add the suffix -age to song and album titles such as “Myage,” “Cameage,” “Bikage,” “Liveage,” “Tonyage,” “Marriage,” and even “Coolidge.” Most of these songs can be found on their 1981 release Milo Goes to College (also ending with the -age sound). A Descendents tribute album was appropriately named Homage, which recognized the band's most common word morphology. Stockage was a punk music festival highlighted by performances from the Descendents and All.
Due to the fluid nature of Leet, such derived nouns can be further re-puposed as verbs: “He ownaged me” (that is, “He dominationated me”).
Words ending in -ed
In words ending in -ed, it is fairly common for the e to be dropped. It can either be replaced by an apostrophe, as is common in poetry (e.g., owned becomes own'd), or omitted entirely (e.g., owned becomes ownd). The word ending may also be substituted by -t. For example, owned would become ownt.
Leet, like other hacker slang, enjoys a looser grammar than standard English. The loose grammar, just like loose spelling, encodes some level of emphasis, ironic or otherwise. A reader must rely more on intuitive parsing of Leet to determine the meaning of a sentence rather than the actual sentence structure. In particular, speakers of Leet are fond of verbing nouns, turning verbs into nouns (and back again) as forms of emphasis (e.g. “Bob rocks” is weaker than “Bob r0xx0rz” (note spelling) is weaker than “Bob is t3h r0xx0rz” (note grammar)). Leet, like in other hacker slang, employs overgeneralization in construction of new words. For example, if haxored is the past tense of the verb “to hack” (hack → haxor → haxored), then blowzored would be easily understood to be the past tense conjugation of “to blow,” even if the reader had not seen that particular word before.
An increasingly common characteristic of Leet is changing its grammatical usage to be deliberately incorrect. For instance, instead of saying “Bob r0x0r” (“Bob rocks”), one might write, “Bob am teh r0x0r” (“Bob am the rocks”), or “Bob r teh r0x0r” (“Bob are the rocks”), both of which incorrectly use the verb “to be,” and render the verb “to rock” as a noun. It is deliberately used to increase the level of irony of the statement. This deliberate misspelling is similar to the cult following of the “All your base are belong to us” phrase. Indeed, the online and computer communities have been international from their inception, so that spellings and phrases typical of non-native speakers are quite common.
Rhyming and rhythm
While Leet is not generally spoken, it can be deemed close to stress-timed. Care is taken by users of Leet to combine similarly timed words, or to encipher words into ways such that they have a common rhythm or rhyme. An example of this is the phrase “roffle my woffles” (note both spelling error (woffle) and word timing) (“roffle my woffles” is derived from the acronym ROFL). Other examples would be "roxorz your boxorz" (in this case, rhyming). Leet can be highly lyrical and stylistic (even poetic), the way a typical pidgin language can be.
Over-exclamation and other emphasis
Another common feature of Leet is over-exclamation, where a sentence is postfixed with many exclamation marks.
In some cases, because the exclamation symbol (!) resides on the same key as the number one ("1") on english keyboards, over-exclamation can be accidentally (or purposely) typed with extraneous numerical digits, owing to the excitement of the typist: “This is really exciting!!!!!11”. This was especially likely in the context of fast-paced online multiplayer games, where typing carefully leaves the gamer vulnerable to attack. Some deliberately type the numbers, while others take the exclamation further and sarcastically replace some of the digits with words: “This is really exciting!!!!!!11eleven1111one”, or perhaps even “This is really exciting!!!!!!111onetwo”.
Other common typos and uses, whether intentional or otherwise:
- the use of the adjacent ~ (tilde) and @ keys
- the mistyping of the question mark following the same line as the afformentioned exclamation mark, the most common being / and slash, as in: “What are you talking about???//??/?SLASH//?QUESTIONMARK?” A similar derivation comes from the location of the Z key next to the left shift. When typing words such as OMG, it has become common to instead type ZOMG to simulate the accidental typing of the Z in an effort to press the shift key.
In addition to variations on punctuation-based emphasis, it is common to combine two (or more) words and capitalize them to show emphasis. Perhaps most common would be the combination of OMG and WTF to produce OMGWTF. For irony, some will then add BBQHAX to the end (BBQ refering to the word barbeque). This ending generally has the same meaning as the saying “..with gravy,” commonly added to the end of sentences. This creates OMGWTFBBQHAX, meaning, “Oh my god; what the fuck (with added emphasis)?.” Also common is NOWAI (from “no way”). Another phonetic abbreviation is omigawd (OMG with an “valley girl” accent, which is visible in the phonetic word structure).
As with most alternate Leet spellings or grammar, inclusion of these traits in a sentence is often done on purpose. The intent is typically to either lighten the mood, strengthen a point (by mocking someone who may not be party to the discussion), or convey a sense of irony, depending on the context.
Many words originally derived from Leet slang have now become part of the modern Internet slang, such as "pwned". The primary driving force of new vocabulary in Leet is the need to describe new phenomena. Another force is common misspelling such as "teh", and intentional misspellings, especially the "z" at the end of words (“skillz”). Another prominent example of a surviving Leet expression is w00t (now sometimes purposely spelled as w0t0), an exclamation of joy.
Additionally, new words (or corruptions thereof) may arise from a need to make one's username unique. As any given Internet service reaches more people, the number of names available to a given user is drastically reduced. While many users may wish to have the username “CatLover,” for example, in many cases it is only possible for one user to have the moniker. As such, degradations of the name may evolve, such as “C@L0vr.” As the Leet cipher is highly dynamic, there is an wider possibility for multiple users to share the “same” name, through combinations of phonemes and transliterations.
In addition to the common transliterations and enciphering, misspelling (unintentionally or otherwise) is particularly prevalent in Leet dialects. Frequently, common typing errors are absorbed. Transposition of adjacent characters is a common construction (make → maek, you → yuo, is → si).
Other common misspellings now standard in Leet are:
- evar, evah, and eva for ever. Generally used the phrase “Worst. [Something]. Evar.” (e.g. “Worst. Game. Evar.”) This construct is largely credited as a reference to a phrase oft uttered by The Comic Book Guy, a recurring character on The Simpsons, which, itself, is a reference to a complaint uttered about the quality of the show by participants in the alt.tv.simpsons newsgroup.
- German ist for is has crept into Leet, including English encipherings. It is frequently used with word death (“Mp3 ist death.”). Also, "krieg"—German for war—in this context means, approximately, favorable (“Mp3 ist krieg.”). This usage is common among internet users who are fans of black metal. It is most likely derived from the Nargaroth album title Black Metal ist Krieg.
- Über (from German über: above, over) has also made its way into gaming communities to represent a quality of superiority. It usually appears as a prefix attached to adjectives, (“His rushes are überquick;” “The rocket launcher is überpowerful”) although it is occasionally used as a standalone descriptor (“Her playing style is über,” meaning “Her playing style is great.”).
- smrt or samrt for smart—The former may also be an intentional reference to an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer misspells smart in song whilst burning his high school diploma: “I am so smart! I am so smart! S-M-R-T! I mean S-M-A-R-T!”
- Teh, often spelled t3h, standing for the. (See teh.)
- gom for omg, meaning “Oh My God.”
- r for are, y for why, k for ok, and u for you.
- J00 for you—This originates from other languages where J has the same sound as Y.
- NP, short for “no problem.”
- Ma or Mah for my. This originated from ghetto/rap/hip hop pronounciations of the word. Similarly, meh stands for me.
The expression "kekeke" is widely believed to have come from Koreans. In the Korean language, people expressed laughter in writing by repeating the letter "ㅋ" (Korean letter for the hard k [as opposed to the g or soft k, "ㄱ"], called 키읔 or "kieuk") many times over. Since early versions of StarCraft did not allow players to write in Hangul (the name of the Korean writing system), Koreans would romanize their language. Hence, kekeke was born. The phrase is an onomatopoetic Korean phrase similar to the English and French "hahaha", Spanish "jajaja", or Japanese "fufufu" (sometimes romanized more phonetically as "huhuhu", as the Japanese character "fu" is pronounced as a slur between the two sounds, producing a sound similar to "phu"), and is meant to express laughter. It is often used in-game as an expression of exaltation or as a form of mockery. Commonly, it is associated with a simple StarCraft tactic that involves massing a large number of units and using them to attack an enemy base before its owner is sufficiently prepared to defend. This is often called a Zerg Rush, after the StarCraft faction for whom the tactic was created. The phrase "OMG Zerg Rush! kekeke!!" is sometimes used outside of the game to indicate any form of overwhelming or swarming force. 
Some English speakers use "kekeke" as a form of laughing, similar to giggling although it is still primarily used by Korean speakers.
The phrase also occurs on the MMORPG World of Warcraft, although its origin is completely different. There are two major factions in the game which 'speak' different languages. All chat text entered by a member of one faction will appear jumbled to a member of the other, and vice versa. As a result, members of the Alliance faction will see "kek" when a member of the Horde faction had typed "lol". This is often extended, and "lolololol" becomes "kekekekek". This has become an in-joke amongst World of Warcraft players. This is also a good example of what is known as an Easter Egg in the game World of Warcraft. The game writers at Blizzard used hundreds of famous phrases and names in populating the game world. KeK (Orcish for LOL) was intentional.
Kekeke is also used as an evil laugh and is used by players using devious tactics and/or playing evil characters. While this usage is thought to have its roots in the laugh of Kefka, the main villain from Final Fantasy VI, kekeke is commonly associated with laughs of devious characters in Japanese Manga, Anime, and Video Games, and has made its way through various translations.
This is a deliberately inaccurate spelling/pronunciation for porn, where a zero is often used to replace the letter O. It is sometimes used in legitimate communications (such as email discussion groups, Usenet, chat rooms, and internet web pages) to circumvent language and content filters, which may reject messages as offensive or spam. The word also helps prevent search engines from associating commercial sites with pornography—which might result in unwelcome traffic. Pr0n is also sometimes spelled backwards (n0rp) to further obscure the meaning to potential uninformed readers.
Pr0n is also used to show something is a good thing, or that it is worthy of admiration, generally in conjunction with the word teh. For example, “That program is teh pr0n,” “My gaming skills are teh pr0n,” or “We have pictures of new computer hardware, click the link for teh pr0n.”
Pwn refers to the domination of a player in a video game or argument (rather than just a win). For example, in a multiplayer first-person shooter game, a player with a default starting gun defeats an opponent carrying a vastly superior weapon. This progression of events would seem to indicate dominant skill in the player with the inferior pistol, who outplayed (pwned) the player with superior firepower.
There are several commonly accepted theories about its origin, most of which suggest derivation from the word own. The word pwn is pronounced the same as the common English word own, though it is sometimes pronounced pohn or pawn. The most obvious of these theories is that pwn is a simple misspelling of the word own (since p is adjacent to o on QWERTY keyboards), but there are other plausible theories.
A few theories state that pwn originates from “player own,” “power own,” or “perfectly own”; alternatively, since the letter P is one letter further along in the alphabet than the letter O, using pwn rather than own means that one has beaten his opponent to a higher degree than own. Another theory is that the term came into being through the misspelling of the word pawn, pawn being the lowest prized chess piece. Therefore, when one has pwned someone, one has placed him or her in the lowest standing. However, even this word has been purposefully used as p4wn3d, as in, “I p4wn3d you.”
All theories denote the excess victory over the other player's opponent.
Variations on the word include pwnt, pwnz0red, pwnx0r3d, pwnihilation, pwnz0rz, pwn3d, pwnm45t3r, wtfpwn, and pooned.
Within Leet, the term n00b (and derivations thereof) is used extensively. The word, meaning newbie (as in, new and inexperienced or uninformed), is used as a means of segregating the “elite” members of a group from outsiders. There have been other variations of the term. For example, nubcake (often spelled nubcaek), naab (from the pakistani accent), and n00blet (a n00b who is or acts like a child).
Though they are often used interchangeably, there is a widely accepted separation of the definitions of newb and n00b: a newb is a person who is new to something, while a n00b is a detestable or inferior person. It is used in a derogatory sense, inferring the target is being ignorant of his or her own failures, blaming others without reason, failing to learn, etc. Example: “Player one is a newb because he joined the game yesterday. Player two is a n00b, because he has owned the game for a year and still can't win.”
In primitive Leet, as used on BBS systems in the 1980s and into the very early 1990s, the usual term was greenie which was derived from the cowboy slang greenhorn. A variant was Christmas greenies which referred to the phenomenon where BBS systems were flooded with new members immediately following Christmas and Hanukkah because modems were a common holiday gift. If the greenie was young, the term ruggie (derived from rugrat meaning child) might be used. The term greenie is also used in the MMORPG Everquest to refer to monsters far below the level of the player. If a player considers fighting a monster, the monster's returning text is green to indicate the monster's inferiority.
Suxxor or sux0rz
Suxxor (pronounced suhk-zohr) is a derogatory term which originated in warez culture and is currently used in multi-user environments such as multiplayer video games and instant messaging. The word is a modified version of the phrase “to suck”, and the meaning is the same as the English slang.
There are two main uses: as a verb and a noun. Using the word as a verb, one could say, “Dude, that suxxorz!”, meaning, “That sucks. It is not good.” Using the word as a noun, one might say, “You are the suxxor.”, meaning “You are a bad person; you are bad at what you do.” Literally translated, this means, “you are the suck,” but it could also mean, “you are a sucker (i.e. fool).” The two variations appeared independently: the verb version is antonymous to roxxor (Leet for “to rock”), and the noun could be a counterpart to haxor (Leet for hacker).
Suxxor is one of the early Leet words to use the -xor word-ending.
FTW is not actually Leet, because none of its letters have been transposed into other characters; however, it is often used in Leetspeak and is therefore noteworthy.
FTW is short for “For the Win,” which is used in reference to something powerful that helps one win. It is commonly used in conjunction with a noun that a person feels the need to advocate—such as “Notepad FTW.” Similarly, an argument or retort can be declared FTW if one feels one's comments were particularly damaging, sarcastic, or funny.
FTW can also be used to describe something that the user feels is worthy of admiration. The object in question usually has something to do with the person using it. For example, a gamer who is fond of playing a mage character might say “Mages FTW.”
Conversely, FTL has come around with the opposite meaning: “For The Loss/Lose.”
FTW is also used in some cases as a modifed version of WTF, an acronym for “What the fuck?” (FTW meaning, “Fuck the what?”).
Among the early Internet slang was LOL, an indication of appreciation of humor, literally meaning “Laughing Out Loud.” Similar acronyms, were quickly added to the lexicon, including ROFL (“Rolling on Floor, Laughing”) and LMAO (“Laughing My Ass Off”). Derivations of the acronym quickly became incorporated into the Leet vocabulary.
Leet is prone to the corruption of words to suit rhythm and rhyming. This, in addition to various plays on the words (such as ROFLcopter, LMAOnade, LOLLERskates, LMAOynnaise, LOLLERgasm, LOLipops, LOLLERcaust, and LOLLERcoaster, etc…), has led to the creation of tongue-in-cheek words and phrases that don't actually utilize the original acronym, such as “roffle my woffles [sic]” and lawlsauce. Many people will pronounce the acronym as an actual word, For example, instead of saying each letter individually (“L-O-L”), the speaker will phoneticize the acronym's pronunciation (lawl or lohl).
Lawl or lawlz, however, can be used as a sarcasm, meaning, “It wasn't very funny, but I'll give you credit.”
Plz or pls is widely used as an abbreviation of please. This term can be found in conjunction with other terms when someone is begging for something, such as “Resurrect me plz!” or “Monies plz!” As with all abreviations, plz is faster to type, which is beneficial in an online environment.
Plz is often combined with other leet words like thx, making the word plzthx (“Please, thanks.”).
Example sentences in Leet
Example: +3|-| q(_)1(|< |3r0\/\/|\| ph0x j(_)/\/\p5 0\/3r teh |_@z`/ [)06.
Translation: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Example: ! _/(_)$7 134|?/\/3|) vv#47 1337 /\/\34/\/5.
Translation: I just learned what Leet means.
More common example: That move was teh l33t!!11
Translation: That move was (deliberate misuse of the) elite!
- ASCII art
- Internet slang
- Jeff K.
- Megatokyo, a webcomic in which some characters speak in Leet
- Typographical error
- Script kiddie
- Tales for the L33t
Leet in the Internet Social Corpus
- B1FF, the stereotypical newbie
- Reanimation, Linkin Park's album of remixed songs (the singles are corrupted with Leet)
- l33t programming language
- S1m0ne, the title of a 2002 science-fiction drama film
- b3ta, humorous British website, described as a "puerile digital arts community"
- "NUMB3RS", Popular television series on CBS
- "Unan1mous", a reality show on Fox
- "Driv3r", the video game sequel to Driver 2
- "Wip3out", sequel to Wipeout 2097
- Examples of Leet in videogaming
- "Gamer-to-English Dictionary". Retrieved 21 June 2006.
- For example, Microsoft's 
- Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier ISBN 0-553-56370-X.
- This article is based in part on the Jargon File, which is in the public domain.
- Blashki, Katherine; Nichol, Sophie. "Game Geek’s Goss: Linguistic Creativity In Young Males Within An Online University Forum (94/\/\3 933k’5 9055oneone)". Australian Journal of Emerging Technologies and Society 3 (2). Retrieved September 12, 2006.
- Bruce Sterling, The Hacker Crackdown: Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier ISBN 0-553-56370-X.
Syntax and structure
- Jeroen, Kristof (2004). "According to a research at Gent University". Retrieved 19 june 2006.
- Several publications on "letter position/identity" can be found in the website of. "Manuel Perea". Retrieved 2 september 2006.
Evolution, current state, and spread
- Hudon, Mindy. "Twin Language". Retrieved 29 January 2006.
- Gay, Greg. "Origins of Written Language". Retrieved 29 January 2006.
Leet guides and instruction
- A Guide To Speaking 1337, for beginners and novices
- A Leet Primer by Anthony Mitchell A look at Leet’s popularity, international trends, and security issues.
- An h2g2 Explanation of l33t Speak
- A Basic History of l337 Sp3aK @aquarionics.com
- The Straight Dope: What the heck is "leetspeak?"
- A parent's primer to computer slang: Understand how your kids communicate online to help protect them — Microsoft's guide to computer slang
- Leet in real life - German people who are leet
- The Website of the Leet
- Where the leet meet and greet - The Original 1337.com
- Read and Write in L337 from WikiHow
- L337 Speak Converter Bi-directional Leetspeak Translator.
- speak leet Convert any webpage into leet.
- The Ultra-1337 Translator lets you convert words into basic or advanced leet and back.
- Generator for leet typographical filler text
- External Windows leet/English Translation Program
- Firefox Leet Key extension Provides a leet interface, as well as allowing transformation of static HTML text into leet and then to English.
- Leet-Translator.com Allows you to translate websites or plain text into leet.
- leet.lrem.net also allows you to translate websites into leet, but doesn't choke on UTF and other encodings.
- Newgrounds leet Translator
- The L33tiser A basic leet translator which lets you convert text into leet.
- The De-L33tiser A translator from leet to English. It works best on text that was created by the L33tiser.
- Text2Leet A transalator from plain text into leet.
- F3ll0wsh1p of teh R1ng Tongue-in-cheek humorous rendition of Lord of the Rings as if it were a multiplayer shooter game (such as Counter-Strike).
- Megatokyo The Does anyone speek 1337 episode of a popular online comic
- The card game Magic: The Gathering has featured leet on one card:Magical Hacker