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Alphanumerish

Alphanumerish is a term coined to define the shorthand typing language that has developed from users' habit of substituting numerals for letters and substituting both letters and numerals for words or word parts. The practice is especially common for text messaging.

For example, the Alphanumerish phrase "c u l8r" can take the place of "see you later," while the computer smiley " :-) " and other emoticons can substitute for entire sentences. Alphanumerish can also include typographical characters outside of the usual alphanumeric set of letters and numerals. A grawlix, for example, is a word often seen in cartoons that stands for a non-specific profanity and consists entirely of extra-alphanumeric characters. Here's an example: #@$%*!

Leet speak can be considered a more extreme version of Alphanumerish, with code-like terms that the average user would have trouble deciphering. For example, the word hacker in leet speak might look like this: |-|@k3r

The term internationalization is an example of a long term that has been given an easier-to-type form, i18n (meaning the initial "I", 18 more letters, and the final "N"). However, i18n isn't one of the more commonly seen examples of Alphanumerish in text messaging. For more frequently-used examples, see our list of chat,Twitter and text messaging abbreviations.

This was last updated in January 2017

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