What Does “W/E” Mean, and How Do You Use It?

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If you see the acronym “w/e” in a text, then someone may not have been paying attention to what you were saying (or they might not care). Here’s what this internet slang term means and how to use it.

“Whatever”

“W/E” stands for “whatever.” It’s used in online chats and conversations when you want to convey a looseness or lack of urgency. It’s almost always written in the lowercase “w/e” instead of the uppercase, which to many, makes it look even more lazy or uncaring.

It’s one of the few online acronyms that’s often written with a slash in the middle—you would type it as “w/e” instead of “we.” This is done to minimize confusion with the pronoun “we.” Other acronyms that have a slash include standard English terms like “w/o” and “c/o,” or more internet-specific slang words like “j/k“, which stands for “just kidding.”

The initialism shares some similarity with the internet slang term “idc,” which means “I don’t care.” Both generally show a disregard for the topic of conversation and can even be used together in a message. For example, you might say “w/e idc” to entirely shut down a conversation and tell someone that you’re not interested in what they have to say.

Alternatively, w/e can be used to refer to “whoever” or “whenever,” both of which are quite similar to “whatever.” Another definition for w/e is “weekend,” as in “Let’s hang out this w/e.” However, this definition isn’t that common anymore.

The History of W/E

The use of w/e has been around for a fairly long time. However, its form has varied throughout the years. Because of the need for punctuation between the two letters, other versions, such as “w.e.” and “w e,” have been used in the past. However, w/e has emerged as the most prominent of these spellings and is most seen in online messages and on social media today.

On the online slang site Urban Dictionary, the first entry for w/e is from 2003. It reads “slang or abbrv. for whatever.” Interestingly, this isn’t the first entry for a slang term for “whatever.” There’s an even earlier entry from 2002 using an all-caps, no punctuation version of the term (“WE”) that reads “Whatever, shorten to be used in chatting and messaging situations.” There are also several entries for different versions of the slang term, including “w.e,” “w e,” and “we” with a backslash.

The term is now most popular in personal conversations over chat apps such as iMessage, WhatsApp, and Telegram, especially among teenagers and young adults.

What Is W/E for?

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A common use of the term is to show your disinterest in a conversation, signaling to the person you’re talking to that you don’t care about something. For example, if someone has come to you with a long, rambling sales pitch about a potential scam, you might say “w/e” to let them know that you don’t want to hear anything more.

One thing that w/e conveys is that something doesn’t matter or isn’t that big of a concern to you. For example, let’s say that someone asks you what you want them to order for dinner. You might say “Just pick w/e” to inform them that you don’t have a preference and that they can decide for you.

Another use for w/e is to pretend that you don’t care about something even though you do (sometimes out of frustration). For example, if someone doesn’t seem interested when you share an exciting life update, you might message them, “You know what, forget it, w/e.” When used in this way, it has a lot of similarity to the acronym “nvm,” which stands for “never mind.”

How to Use W/E

To use w/e, swap it out for any instance where you might otherwise use “whatever.” Make sure to type it in the lowercase instead of the uppercase. Since it’s a casual acronym, only use it in personal conversations with other people or in social media comments. Just be aware that since it often has a negative connotation, you might upset someone if you use it.

Here are a few ways to use w/e:

  • “Well, w/e floats your boat, man.”
  • “Do w/e you want. It won’t really matter anyway.”
  • “Just get w/e you want to get.”
  • “Meh, w/e.”

If you want to learn how to use other online initialisms, check out our pieces on TBH, IDK, and TTYL. You’ll be typing like a savvy texter in no time.

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