The Meaning of FTW in Text Messaging & Facebook

Han Solo AND Indiana Jones ftw!
Han Solo AND Indiana Jones ftw! | Source

FTW has several meanings in the online world, so chances are that you've seen this term floating around somewhere on the Internet. You may find that saying FML is common in online gaming, but it can also be found in text messages as well as in chat, Facebook, and even in an instant message.

So what does it mean? FTW is an acronym that stands for "for the win." This meaning may seem kind of obscure... I mean, what does "for the win" really mean? Well, think about it. If you're in an online game and you capture the flag, you did it for the win or, rather, so that you could win. If you're working really hard on a paper for school, you probably want to get a good grade on it, so you're working extra hard on it FTW!

The phrase is often said in victory, but you can also say it while you're working toward victory. In other words, it's something of a modern-day rallying cry! Another phrase that is kind of similar in meaning is, "Game, set, match!"

Epic win!
Epic win!

Other Meanings

FTW doesn't only mean "for the win." In fact, it also has other, alternative meanings. Keep in mind, though, that while other definitions exist, the term usually means "for the win."

If you use the term when you mean to say something other than "for the win", the person you are talking to might be confused. He or she may assume the "for the win" meaning when you mean to say something else. This is why you'll want to make sure that the person you're talking to knows what you're talking about.

Here are alternative meanings of the acronym FTW:

F**k the world
Free the whales
Face the wall
For those wondering
For the wine


Hollywood Squares, FTW!

The Origin of FTW

Believe it or not, FTW has its origins in the television show, "Hollywood Squares." From its first usage on the popular game show, the term then spread to an online game called Defense of the Ancients (known more commonly as DotA.) This game is a spinoff of Blizzard's popular Warcraft III series.

From DotA, this word spread to other online games such as World of Warcraft. Because of the spread of the word via online games, the term is highly popular and very heavily used in the online gaming community. However, the 'FTW' can also be seen in a number of websites and social networks such as Reddit which are frequented by gamers.

Before the acronym, FTW came to stand for "For the Win", it was used to mean something totally different. The term was solely used as an acronym for "f**k the world." As this previous meaning was very common (especially among motorcyclists), it took quite a while for the newer meaning to overtake the older, more negative meaning.

Many people, especially older generations, believe the term still retains its older meaning. Because of this, it's a good idea to be careful to use it around people who are aware of the newer connotation.

Because of the widespread popularity of the "for the win" usage, more people now use the word as a modern-day rallying cry.

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Comments 15 comments

huh 4 years ago

the original meanings for bikers was and still is...

forever on two wheels,

feel the wind and f*** the world

forlanda profile image

forlanda 4 years ago from US of A

10,000 years from now anthropologists will find data in computer storage devices and will have a heck of a time deciphering all these. With so many meaning to only three letters, they will be totally confused. There's a major difference between interpreting FTW as "for the win" and "f**k this world". Hopefully they pick the right one. LOL.

Jeff Gamble profile image

Jeff Gamble 4 years ago from Denton, Texas

Thanks for the chuckle this morning Mel. I'll take Paul Lynde FTW... to free the whales that is.

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

Aha--I've also seen it used as a 'reversal' of WTF.. using the same "naughty word." Instead of "What The F**," it's turned around to "F** The What???" Doesn't make a lot of sense, but I think that developed as a way to try to "sneak" the more commonly known WTF past the noses of parents & teachers.

RALPH VITALE 4 years ago


melbel profile image

melbel 5 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan Author


It's a happy face like :) except it's got a tongue sticking out. :P

fishcrow 5 years ago

what does the acronym :p mean?

bandana 5 years ago


qweqweqw 5 years ago


Monique 5 years ago

For Those Wondering

Painted Seahorse profile image

Painted Seahorse 5 years ago from Woodstock, GA

My younger sister taught me this expression. She was taking notes in AP US history class, studying one of the world wars, and wrote "USA FTW" really big in her notebook...and the teacher saw it and gave her an odd look. Haha, good hub!

Dovay Lee profile image

Dovay Lee 5 years ago from China

Haha,I am wrong after reading your hub,Ithought it was short for free trade wharf. Thanks for the info and I leart a lot from it.

Astra-chan profile image

Astra-chan 5 years ago from NL

You're right: I'm really sure that it means For The Win^^ Especially with an exclamation mark behind.

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for a great hub and brining up to date, seriously. I am glad it changed into something more nicer meaning.

sweetie1 profile image

sweetie1 6 years ago from India

Hi melbel,

What can i say accept that you reserched this word quite well and described it too very nicely. Before i read this i never knew there is FTW,

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