The Meaning of FTW in Text Messaging & Facebook
What does FTW mean?
Short answer: "For the win" or "Fuck the world"
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!"
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:
Fuck the world
Free the whales
Face the wall
For those wondering
For the wine
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 "fuck 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.