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If you spend any time on Twitter, you probably already know what AF means, but two-letter abbreviations can be a challenge for anyone not clued up on social speak. Or maybe you’re genuinely here with a single, though admittedly uncool, question: What does AF mean? Here’s everything you need to know.
What does AF mean?
AF basically stands for “as fuck.” It’s used after an adjective as an “intensifier” to emphasize the strength of a statement. Think, “I’m extremely tired.” In the AF usage, this phrase would become “I’m tired AF” or “tired af.”
The history of AF
To describe something as “X as fuck” dates back decades. As far as popular culture goes, way back in 1988 N.W.A.’s “Straight Outta Compton” album contained the lyrics “I’m sneaky as fuck when it comes to crime.”
The AF abbreviation came later when text speak led to the shortening of phrases. It’s thought to have begun in the Los Angeles area, then spread until in 2014 it appeared on Aston University’s list of top ten rising words.
Sometimes “asf” can be used to mean the same thing, but the simple AF abbreviation is far more common—and less profane, if that’s something you’re concerned with.
Common uses of AF
You can use AF to exaggerate any point you want to make—”I’m hangry AF,” “broke af,” “she’s cute AF,” “they late AF,” etc. Another common use, especially with memes or reaction GIFs and videos, is to describe something as “me AF.”
“Lit af” and “woke af” are two zeitgeisty examples which will spring to mind for many. “Lit,” a word that used to mean very stoned but now means cool, dope, excellent, etc, is often followed with AF on social media.
Meanwhile describing someone (or in this example something) as “woke AF” is now fairly mainstream.
Thirsty, in the basest of terms, refers to someone who is desperate for attention, usually of a sexual nature. For instance, you may have heard of someone posting a “thirst trap” or “thirsty AF” picture. This just means they are thirsty for likes, attention, or perhaps d**k. It depends what they’re into!
How to pronounce AF
The debate rages on over the correct way to pronounce AF if you use it verbally. One option is to say the letters “A” and “F,” so “AY-eff.”
The other is to say “aff.”
Clearly, either is acceptable. But the thought is that younger people tend to use “aff” whereas older types prefer the other method, “AY-eff.”
It has been noted that AF has become so much part of the vernacular it has even been used in advertising, leading to some to speculate it will no longer be “cool” vocab for the yoof to use. While it may not so mainstream that your grandma would get the reference, it’s clear that AF is no longer just used online.
Has AF jumped the shark? Or will it remain popular AF?
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Editor’s note: This article is regularly updated for relevance.
Amy-Mae Turner is a tech reporter who focuses on gadgets, streaming entertainment, social media, and internet lingo. She previously served as a senior features writer for Mashable.