Young people talk in strange code, it’s always been like that and it always will be like that. Like doctors and lawyers and most other professionals, young people have their own brand of lingo. The lingo may change from generation to generation, but nonetheless, the lingo is ever present.Â
Having said that, I’ve noticed a lot of people using a seemingly innoculous piece of strung together letters to go along with their online statements. If you’re a gamer, belong to an online community such as a forum, or are a member of one of the various social networks like Facebook or Twitter, then you may have noticed an influx in usage of a particular three letter acronym. FTW. Heard of it? I’ve been seeing and hearing (on podcasts) the use of FTW a lot as of late. The problem is, unlike other popular net acronyms like LOL (laughing out loud) or ROTFL (rolling on the floor laughing), FTW is very cryptic. Nonetheless, it seems to be the hip term to be using nowadays in the ever vast InternetLAND. Here are some recent (as of this posting) examples that I found by doing a quick search on Twitter for the term FTW:
“Shakey’s PizzaÂ FTW… even though my stomach doesn’t agree, ugh *gurgle*!”
“Joe DirtÂ FTW”
“”Dorkmeyer” = 1990′s slang. Yeah. THAT didn’t age at all. And Steve Sanders blackout drunkÂ FTW!”
“First beer in about 6 months – SapporoÂ FTW.”
“I can’t say enough about Hamlet 2. I feel so inspired in the strangest way!@brandonpierceÂ & I were LOL through 90% of it. Sexy JesusÂ FTW!”
“Ugh, my roomate just ate all my food I had planned to eat for work and home for the next two days. Backup ramenÂ FTW! :-(“
But what does it mean? When I was growing up, FTW meant “Fuck The World.” I’d see it written on walls, would hear it used as slang in school and occasionally would here it in popular culture. There have also been a few songs, titled FTW, in reference to “Fuck The World”, like the one found on The Vines album Winning Days.Â
Turns out, that the above Tweets are not cries to “Fuck The World.” Instead, FTW, or the FTW used by this generation of Internet users means “For The Win!” A lot more pleasant sounding than the ill-fated sounding “Fuck The World,” but still, very cryptic.Â
So that leads to me to usage. “For The Win”, ok, that’s all dandy, but how do you use it? None of the above tweets make any sense. Sapporo FTW! Sexy Jesus FTW! WHAT? HUH?Â
It turns out that to understand its usage, one must historically understand the FTW term. FTW was initially heavily used by online multi-player game enthusiasts (i.e. World of Warcraft). It was often used during game chats or in forums. Here’s a few examples of how one would use FTW if they were a gamer:
“Oh yeah, baby, double mega hydro shock spitgun, FTW!”
“druid hurricane, FTW!“
As you can see, the FTW presented in the above gaming examples are excitatory proclamations that a particular weapon (i.e. double mega hydro shock spitgun) or tool was useful in executing a winning maneuver.Â
However, as we saw from the previous Twitter examples, FTW usage has moved beyond just exclaiming the virtues of a particular weapon. Instead, it is now used to exclaim the virtues of a particular idea, food, process or device that leads to a satisfying or excellent outcome.
Recently, a user on the Washington Capitals forum board (I’m not a member, I stumbled upon it while researching FTW!) went off on the term. He called for an all out ban of the term on the Capitals forum board:
“For the win”? What does that even mean? It seems to be used to imply that something is good, if I am interpreting the context correctly. But can’t one simply say that something is good? Why obfuscate with an acronym or a nonsensical phrase?
Back in my day, we would use the term “awesome” in a similar manner to this “FTW” nonsense– but at least “awesome” made aÂ littlesense, even if it was rather hyperbolic to suggest, for instance, that Pac-Man actually inspired awe.Prior to all this, the only times I have heard the words “for the win” used came when watching sporting events. But, see, when a sports announcer says “for the win”– as in “Jordan, for the win…!”– the outcomeÂ has not been decided yet.Â The phrase does not reflect whether the outcome was good or bad. So how can one use this phrase to imply that something isÂ goodÂ when the phrase itself does not implyÂ anything?
So there you have it folks. You have now been educated on the virtues of FTW. Use it wisely and if you do use it beware of Washington Capitals fans. Definitions, FTW!