What Does SMH Mean? A Simple Guide To The Slang Internet Term Everyone's Using

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what does smh mean
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It's not a new term, FYI.

We live in an age of acronyms, and for good reason: most of our communication is text-based and — as such — we are looking for the quickest and most concise way to communicate information. To convey thoughts and feelings with just a few characters.


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But if you are not a teen or living with a teen, you may struggle to keep up with “the lingo.” The good news is that you are not alone. (I’m 34 and a “trend” writer and I can barely stay on top of it all.) But today, I am going to break down one of the most common acronyms, SMH.

What does SMH mean? SMH literally stands for “shaking my head,” but it is used to express general disapproval, exasperation, and frustration. It is used anytime someone says or does something you do not approve of.

(According to Urban Dictionary, it is “used when someone finds[/does] something so stupid no words can do it justice.) And it can also be used to mean “stupid minded humans” or “so much hate.”

Unlike other common acronyms, the origins of SMH are unclear; however, according to Oxford Dictionary, the phrase was coined sometime in the early 21st century — with entries on Urban Dictionary dating back to 2004.

And while the SMH meaning is the base form of “shaking my head,” sometimes individuals choose to use a more expressive acronym — i.e. common variations include SMDH or SMFH which mean — respectively — “shaking my damn head” and “shaking my f***ing head.”


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That said, regardless of which variation you use, there are many ways to use SMH, including these examples:

1. Did you see what Becky was wearing? SMDH.

I don’t mean to be critical, but sometimes leopard print leggings aren’t the best choice.

2. My mom is singing Drake. SMH.

No mom, no. Just stop.

3. Can you believe John fell asleep during The Avengers? SMH.

The new Avengers movie is loud, hyped, and action-packed, so how John fell asleep is mind boggling — and yet, here we are.

4. This week has been too damn much. SMH.

Because sometimes the only way to describe the insanity of life is with a simple gesture.

5. Lost my phone last night and now I’m just SMH.

I’m cursing too but...

6. Kids these days don’t know what good music is. Seriously SMH.

Yeah, I’m dating myself here but no, I’m not ashamed.

7. And finally, SMH.

Because yes, sometimes this acronym is best when it stands alone.


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Nicole Lane is a wife, mother, writer, and regular contributor for YourTango. She is a staunch defender of women's rights, she believes firmly in equality and parity, and she is an advocate for women's health, mental health, and sexuality.

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