21 Acronyms & Hashtags The Cool Kids Use On Instagram (And What They Actually Mean)

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21 Definitions Of Hashtags & Acronyms In Instagram Captions & Comments

I love Instagram. You probably do too. But I love it so much that I think it's safe to say that the amount of time I have spent on the toilet has easily doubled since its inception. I mean, you give a girl an endless string of photos and the opportunity to peek inside the lives of everyone she could possibly think of, from celebrities to her third grade crush, and you pretty much guarantee a social media app that is going to suck up every last drop of her time and attention.

In particular, I may just ove trying to interpret what people write in their captions and comments even more than looking at the photos themselves.

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I swear to you that if it weren't for social media, I could easily be mistaken for an 80-year-old woman. Instagram, baby, you've kept me, well, if not entirely cool, at least somewhat relevant.

If you, like me, have ever stumbled across a hashtag or acronym on Instagram and had no clue what it meant, rest assured that you are absolutely not alone. "WCW? MCM? What are these? Drugs?" These are words I almost surely said to myself as I began my own persona foray into the magical world of Insta.

To save you from confusion, I've broken down 21 of the most commonly used hashtags and acronyms you're likely to find in captions and comments on Instagram.

Now, you too can maybe almost fool a teenager into thinking you're the flyest thing since "Fruit By The Foot". (Also not mentioning Fruit By The Foot in your posts will probably help raise your coolness factor.) 

1. Latergram 

Something you post to Instagram later than it happened.

Love me some latergrams! These are pictures you post on Instagram sometime after you've actually taken them and lived the events captured. Some folks go bungee jumping while doing a shot and share the pic on Instagram right then and there. However, most will be doing it later from their hospital beds. So you know, in a latergram.

2. DM 

Direct message.

Honey, yes! On Instagram you have the chance to send pics of stuff your friends might be into right into their (kind of difficult to access, IMHO) inbox. It's also a way of creeping on some hottie to be all, "Hey!" This is how Britney and Jax from Vanderpump rules met and I'm not even lying.


3. ELI5

Explain like I'm five.

This is something you might seen in the comments of a post captioned something like, "The effect of gamma rays on man in the moon marigolds." When someone doesn't get what the caption means, they use this to ask for an explanation in a very internet-y type of way.


Fear of missing out.

This is a sentiment people express online, but it's usually about stuff that isn't happening on the internet, hence the fear of missing out!

Seeing Instagram pics of your friends at some killer party where Pitbull randomly shows up? Sure to inspire some major FOMO.


5. FTW

For the win.

This gets tacked onto literally anything you happen to think is superior, dope, awesome, fresh or just number one in general. If you really love onion dip and you're posting a pic of it, you might very well caption it, "Onion dip #ftw!"

Also if you do, can we please be friends forever?


In case you missed it.

Remember that time you met a guy while you were out at a bar and the two of you got wasted together and decided to elope so you flew to Vegas and tied the knot? Yeah, well the pictures you share to Instagram you're probably gonna give that hashtag, just so folks know what's up with you and the literal movie that is your life.

7. JIC

Just in case.

You're posting a picture of your airplane ticket partially to let your friends know that you're finally traveling to Guam on a solo goat herding vacation like you've always talked about... but you're also posting it #jic you forget your gate departure information.

8. MCM

Man Crush Monday.

Instagram loves to celebrate different things on different days of the week, as you'll surely see on the rest of this list. On #mcm you post a picture of a hot or awesome (or both) man you admire. Sure, it can be your dad, but that's a little weird. Why not make it Canadian Prime Minister and feminist Justin Trudeau instead?!


9. WCW

Woman Crush Wednesday.

Exactly like Man Crush Monday only for women and on Wednesdays. Also, it is far superior, because on #wcw you can do stuff like post pictures of your mom without it being weird, but also of DC's own Wonder Woman.

10. TBT 

Throwback Thursday.

I love this one. You know when you're staying with your parents for the holidays and you suddenly have access to all those embarrassing childhood photos and you wanna share 'em? Well, do it on a Thursday on Instagram and hashtag them #tbt and you're cooking with gas, mi amors!

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11. CTO

Check this out.

Did you really hit the mother lode when it came to your Sunday flea market shopping this week? You probably can't contain yourself for being able to find not one BUT TWO matching unicorn lamps that also glow under a black light and we can't blame you. #CTO and share the good news with all your peeps!

12. FYA 

For your amusement.

You don't see this as often as the others, but it pops up. Frankly, it's one of my favorite hashtags, and for that reason alone it has made the list. This is commonly used when folks share hilarious memes or GIFs or jokes for no reason other than to amuse the world at large. It's a very your-uncle-who-is-new-to-Insta thing to do, but whatever.


13. IGDaily 

Instagram Daily Hashtag.

You do not even want to know how long it took for me to figure out what this meant and what it was for. When you see folks hashtag something with IGDaily it's because they've decided to dedicate a part of each day of their life to sharing with Instagram. It can be anything from someone's bowl of cereal to someone's grandmother twerking up on some pizza pie. God, I do hope that last one has happened...

14. QOTD

Quote of the day.

Because of sites like Pinterest, it is easier than ever to get your hands on some really beautifully graphically rendered quotes. If your social media life isn't limited to Pinterest (so, lol, everyone), you might use this hashtag to share a beautiful, funny, or inspiring quote of the day. 


15. BAMF 

Bad-ass mother f**ker.

You're most likely to hashtag a pic on Instagram with this acronym when you're feeling fly as hell and tough as nails. Now that Doc Martens are back in, I fully plan on investing in a new pair. When I do, you can bet I'll be sharing them on Insta and using this hashtag.


16. NFW

No f**king way.

I had to include a second f-word hashtag on this list because they get used a lot and I don't want you to have to be like me, all up in Google's junk trying to figure out what they mean late one night like an idiot. I usually use this in captions for comedic effect. Like the time I saw a sign that said, "Do not walk over here. The bees are angry." Yeah, #nfw I'm dealing with those bees, Y'all.

​17. FBF 

Follow back Friday.

Didn't I tell you that Instagram loooooves to celebrate every single day of the week? I wasn't lying. Follow back Friday is when you loudly announce via hashtag that you are more than willing to follow back anyone and everyone who follows you. It's shameless promotion of the highest order and I love every damn thing about it.

18. HT of H/T

Hat tip.

When you take someone else's cool image and share it on Instagram (or "Regram it") and you want to be a decent person about it, you write HT or H/T and tagging the account it came from in order to make it clear that you aren't the original poster, or even the only person to post it that day. Giving a follower credit goes a long way when it comes to internet manners. 

19. LB 

Like back.

If someone happens to like one of your photos, they might also write "LB" as encouragement for you to like one of their posts. I personally find this to be obvious and obnoxious, however people do it because it works. So if you're all about getting your engagement right and tight, do this (I guess)!


20. TT

Transformation Tuesday!

This is usually a serious of photos chronicling a transformation. So it could be a guy chronicling his weight loss journey with before and after pics or it could be me posting a photo of myself covered with chocolate as an infant and then covered with chocolate today. The second one is infinitely more hilarious, albeit it quite tongue in cheek.


Fitness inspiration.

This usually follows as a hashtag on a photo of something that can be used as motivation to get in shape. So it can be a pic of something like the new pair of sneakers you bought to run that 10K or it can be a photo of an aesthetically pleasing but nutritious meal!


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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a sex, humor and lifestyle writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cat, Batman. She hosts the sex, love, and dating advice show, Becca After Dark on YourTango's Facebook Page every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 pm Eastern. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr