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What Does stby mean?

Updated on August 24, 2014

"Stby" is internet slang and/or a text abbreviation for "sucks to be you" or "sorry to bother you".

Thus, you may see "stby" on internet chat boards or via text message. However, because "stby" has a dual meaning, there can be considerable confusion about its use unless the context is absolutely clear.

STBY would mean "sorry to bother you" in the case of interrupting somebody on the toilet.
STBY would mean "sorry to bother you" in the case of interrupting somebody on the toilet.

In the above example, "stby" would mean "sorry to bother you". Somebody is sticking their head in a bathroom as another person is defecating. The appropriate introduction in this case should be "sorry to bother you", although it's possible that such minor contrition would not be enough to pardon the interruption. After all, you're interrupting somebody on the toilet. What are you doing anyway?

However, if the person who was doing the defecating had been sitting on the toilet for say, six hours, then it might be more appropriate to use "stby" to mean "sucks to be you" because nobody wants to be sitting on the toilet for six hours. Your legs go all numb. In this case, it might be appropriate to recommend a fiber supplement to the person because they are clearly not getting enough fiber.

Stuck in quicksand with an arrow through the head, "stby" would mean "sucks to be you".
Stuck in quicksand with an arrow through the head, "stby" would mean "sucks to be you".

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In the above example, the person walking away from the person sinking in quicksand with an arrow through his head is using the abbreviation "stby" to mean "sucks to be you". Obviously, the person walking away is being somewhat cruel, though perhaps this isn't so much quicksand as a mud hole or tar pit and the person walking away simply does not want to get dirty. This is assuming, of course, that the arrow through the head did not render the person dead, but since the person is waving their arms, one assumes not.

The obvious problem with an abbreviation such as "stby" is that it has two meanings and when something has two meanings, there is always the chance that another person will assume one meaning when the other is intended. This is why one must be very careful using "stby".

For instance, let's say you're in college and you walk in on your roommate while she's having sex and you quickly say "stby" and leave. The next day, your roommate is really mad at you and you don't know why, so you apologize, but she doesn't accept. You stop talking to each other, eventually parting ways and getting different roommates. Some years later, you run into her and bring up this incident and she says, "I was mad because you said my boyfriend was ugly and nobody wants to be humping an ugly guy" and you say "What are you talking about? I was just apologizing for walking in on you!" Then you both realize that you meant "sorry to bother you" and she thought you meant "sucks to be you".

When using "stby" make sure the other person clearly understands your intent.

Poker players hear stby a lot (public domain)
Poker players hear stby a lot (public domain)

Stby in Poker

Stby is used a lot in poker, not as something that's said during play, but something that's posted on poker boards as a result of people posting their bad beats.

Bad beats in poker are the norm, not the exception, yet people always post their bad beats as if they're an exception, which causes people to respond with stby in the "sucks to be you" vein.

What's a "bad beat"? Well, in the amateur poker world, it's any hand where a player thinks he should have won and doesn't. Stby is apt to be used when the bad beat really isn't that bad. For instance, one of the worst bad beats in poker tournament history happened when aces when up against aces in a tournament where there was a million dollar buy-in. One of the players lost when the other made a flush on the river because four of the same suit fell on the board. That's a bad beat! You post that one and nobody posts stby.

However, you post how you flopped two pair and somebody hit their straight on the river and people the world over post stby. It's not meant to be sincere.


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