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Video Game Terminology: The Language of Internet Gaming Slang

5 min read
31 October 2016
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Have you ever heard someone use the word "noob" and been curious what it meant? How about the term “Leroy Jenkins?” In case you are wondering, these are common English terms used in the world of online video games.

The popularity of video games on the Internet has helped pave the way for special terms to be created by its players. From this, an innovative sublanguage was formed, which consisted of new words and abbreviations that have helped the online community to communicate and cooperate with one another.

We've examined some of the more popular gaming slang terms and abbreviations that are used widely in the world of video games. If you are interested in learning English and are eager to jump into the online gaming community, study up on the list of terms below.


Internet Gaming Slang


This acronym means that the player is “away from keyboard.” In other words, the player is not available, or active, in the game. This is usually used when a player does not move or is not responding. In contrast, the term BAK is used when the player returns to the keyboard, which stands for “back at keyboard.”


Dc is an abbreviation for the word “disconnect,” which means that the player has lost connection with the game, usually because something happened with their Internet.


This acronym stands for “good game” and it is usually exchanged between the players to indicate that the game that just finished was enjoyable to play. The opposite can also be used with the acronym BG, which stands for “bad game.”


This abbreviation stands for “kill steal,” and is used when a player from your team kills a player from the enemy’s team before you are able to. In other words, it is an act of intervention, stealing the points that were supposed to be obtained by someone else from their team.

Leeroy Jenkins

This is a common nickname for any player that decides to act like Rambo on the battlefield, acting rashly without taking into consideration the concept of caution. Simply put, they are playing by their own rules and diving into danger without any regard for the consequences or safety of their team. The origin of the name goes back to a viral video of a character from the game World of Warcraft named Leeroy Jenkins, in which he screams out his name before ignorantly charging headlong into battle and killing everyone in his team.


This is a common acronym that extends beyond the world of video games. Also used in the military, the acronym MIA stands for “missing in action,” which means that one of the players from the opposing team vanished. Sometimes they use the term “SS,” which is an abbreviation of the word miss and is more common than “MIA” when playing online on the European servers.


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Also spelled n00b (with double zeros), this is generally used to describe a person who doesn't have any expertise in a particular area, especially computing. It is derived from the word “newbie,” and in the world of video games it refers to a new player who does not have any skills in playing video games.


This means “domination,” and used most of the time to describe the humiliating defeat to the opposing team. The word originated from a typo while writing the word own, where the letter p was typed instead of the letter "o" as the letters are next to each other on the keyboard. Today, the word has evolved to become more common than the original word!


An abbreviation for the word “reappear,” this is commonly used in online gaming when the player returns to the game after leaving for a period of time.


A scrub is a player who does not have the proper skills, but believes that he/she is the best player in the world, or better than expected during the game. This player usually commits the same mistakes over and over again and does not listen to the advice of friends, and when they lose he/she blames the other players.

Smurf or smurfing                                           

The term "smurfing" is used when players who have a great experience in a video game, create new accounts for the purpose of disguising themselves as new players and use their skills to defeat inexperienced opponents with ease. The term derived originally from the popular children’s cartoon, The Smurfs, when a veteran player decided to choose a fake name (Papa Smurf) and engaged in battles with beginners, or n00bs, causing them lots of humiliating defeats for the sake of his own entertainment.

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Any MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game will encourage interaction between different players and give you a chance to use your English. Even if you are not up to the task of directly communicating with your fellow players, you can still observe how other people are talking to each other.

There are a lot of online games out there now that you can play for free. If you’re into your sci-fi, maybe you want to try the Star Wars-based Old Republic or Star Trek Online. If you’re a comics fan and want to go and chat to Batman, DC Universe Online could be for you. If you fancy a more classical fantasy setting, there is always Guild Wars 2, the Dungeons & Dragons based Neverwinter or Lord of the Rings Online.


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