Grammar 7 min read

? LOL Meaning and how to Avoid Looking bad Using it

A cartoon chat message with the text LOLZ and an pink square crying emoji appear on a turquoise background.

LOLZ is an alternative for LOL that you can use for genuine amusement or sarcasm.

Main LOL Meaning Takeaways:

  • Nowadays, LOL means “laugh out loud,” not “lots of love.”
  • Respond with LOL to show that you think something is really funny.
  • LOL is usually stronger than a simple “ha” or “haha.”
  • You mostly see LOL in online conversations like texts, chats, and on social media.
  • LOL can be a verb or an interjection.
  • There are no capitalization rules for LOL.
  • LMAO, LOLZ, hehe, haha, and the crying face emoji ? are alternatives to LOL.
  • Even though it’s an official word, it’s more appropriate for casual conversations and not formal settings.
That video you sent was hilarious!
LOL I know! I watched it like 20 times ??

LOL is a social media and text message staple. It’s also one of the most used expressions in this Digital Age. Ever wondered why? We’ll break down the LOL meaning, including when it is okay to use it in your conversations and when it’s not.

What Does LOL Mean in a Text?

LOL stands for “laugh out loud.” It means that the person found something so funny that it made them laugh out loud. Even if you don’t literally laugh out loud, you can still use LOL to show that you think something is particularly funny or amusing. It’s considered text speak or textese because it usually only appears in digital communications. For example, this acronym is popular in social media posts and text messages. Because LOL is a slang term, its appropriate for casual conversation and not formal settings. Grammatically, LOL is classified as a verb and an interjection, or a word that expresses strong emotion.

A cartoon chat message with the text LOLZ and an pink square crying emoji appear on a turquoise background.
LOLZ is a popular LOL alternative that can be used for genuine amusement or with sarcasm.

Most often, LOL is something you see in writing and don’t say. But, some say LOL out loud sarcastically or when making fun.

LOL is often pronounced by spelling out the letters. When you say LOL aloud, it sounds like el-oh-el. Some people also say loll. This pronunciation has a long ‘o,’ and it rhymes with poll and troll.

What is the Meaning of the Word LOL?

The meaning of LOL is laugh out loud or laughing out loud. This word is a verb and an interjection, meaning it’s often used to show the action of laughing out loud or to show a strong emotion. LOL is appropriate for casual conversations online or in text messages. Use this abbreviation when you find something funny. Even if you just smile or giggle, you can still use LOL. Nobody expects you to laugh out loud when you say LOL, but it’s okay if you do.

It’s important to note that even though LOL is an official word, it’s not usually appropriate for many professional or educational settings.

What’s more, some might also use LOL in a passive-aggressive way. More and that a bit later.

Can LOL Mean Lots of Love?

The most common meaning of LOL is laugh out loud. When you use LOL, the majority of people will understand it to mean laugh out loud and not lots of love. Less common uses of LOL include lots of love and lots of luck. However, these two uses might be considered old-fashioned or outdated. To avoid a misunderstanding or seeming sarcastic, we recommend only using LOL to mean laugh out loud or laughing out loud.

LOL meaning: Originally LOL is an abbreviation for laugh out loud.
LOL was first coined in the ’80s on a bulletin board system called Viewline in Calgary, Canada.

How to Look Good When you use LOL

  • When you find something mildly amusing to outright hilarious, use LOL.
  • Since there are no capitalization rules, feel free to write lol in all lowercase letters, LOL in all uppercase letters, or LoL in a mix of the two.
  • You might add one or a few crying face emojis ?. Or, replace LOL with emojis all together.

Another option is to type LOL multiple times when you find something hilarious.

OMG that’s hilarious, lol lol lol

When to Use LOL

Usually, you use LOL in response to something. This might be in text message to a friend or loved one. Or, as a comment on a social media post.

Here are some situations when responding with LOL is appropriate:

  • Viewing a funny meme
  • Reading a joke
  • Watching a funny video
  • Reading a silly story
  • Seeing a funny photo

Just make sure you use LOL during appropriate times. When a boss or client says something funny, you may prefer to respond with haha.” You can also reply with a sentence, such as That’s funny.”

A square pink cartoon character stands against a yellow background holding a cell phone. His eyes are closed and his mouth is wide open in laughter. He is crying laughing at something on the screen.
LOL is a slang commonly used in casual digital conversations like in text messages, on social media, and in chats.

LOL is generally not appropriate for more formal settings like at work or at school.

Here are some situations when textese is appropriate:

  1. Texts between friends or family members
  2. Online forums
  3. Social media posts
  4. Chat rooms
  5. Blog posts for an informal audience

How to Capitalize LOL

There are no hard grammar rules for the capitalization of LOL. Since it’s an acronym, it’s traditionally represented in all caps.

However, it’s mostly used in informal context. This means you’ll most likely see it written in lowercase letters as lol or as a mix of upper and lowercase as Lol.

When something is particularly hilarious, many add extra letters to make varieties like Lolz or LOLLLL.

All of these capitalization approaches are acceptable:

  • LOL
  • Lol
  • lol

You can also add extra letters to LOL. Some people do this to show they find something hilarious.

  • lololol
  • LOLZ

LOLZ also expresses sarcasm, but some texters use it when they are genuinely amused.

Sarcastic LOLing and LOLZ

Some people also use LOL to be passive-aggressive. For example, you might see this kind of sarcastic LOL when someone makes a self-deprecating comment or bashes an ex.

You can also respond with LOL when someone makes a ridiculous request.

You think I’d date you again? LOL!
You want me to stay late when Marco gets to leave work early? LOL, no thanks.
LOL, the bank just repossessed my car. Got me!

Technically, LOLZ is more appropriate than LOL when using sarcasm. LOLZ was created for this purpose. However, many people still prefer to use the traditional version of the word.

A cartoon face against a bright pink background. The mouth is very large and is open in laughter exposing a shiny red tongue and big white front teeth. The words hahahahahahaha are pictured coming out of either side of the mouth,
“Haha” is an LOL alternative you can use in writing to express genuine amusement.

What can I use Instead of LOL?

Some LOL alternatives include LMAO, or laughing my ass off. Another is LMFAO, which stands for laughing my f**cking ass off . These two can be a little stronger than LOL and are definitely not appropriate for formal settings. A more PG version is LMBO, or laughing my butt off. Other LOL alternatives are haha and hehe. The funnier you find something, the more letters you can add, as in hahahahaha or hehehehehe. Similarly, you could just forget words all together and go with one or multiple crying laughing emojis ??.


This means laughing my ass off.”

PG Version: If you are uncomfortable using profanity, type LMBO instead. It means laughing my butt off.”

Check our in-depth post about LMAO meaning.


This option is the same as LMAO, but with the f-word.

PG Version: LMFBO is a cleaner term that can mean laughing my freaking butt off.”

3. KEK*

Some gamers say KEK when they find something funny. KEK is the Korean translation for LOL. The acronym often appears in World of Warcraft and other online games.

*But, be careful when you use this one. In recent years, the meaning has changed from an LOL alternative to a political statement. As a result, it’s taken on a negative connotation.

This is because some started to associate it with a popular Internet conspiracy. It’s also been associated with Alt-Right politics.

Armed with this knowledge of laughing with letters, you’re now free to respond to all jokes, memes, and videos confidently conveying the appropriate reaction. You don’t have to laugh out loud to use this acronym.

Ready to use LOL Like a Pro? Test your Skills With a Quick Quiz

Question #1

Which sentence is correct?
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is A. LOL is an acronym commonly used in texts and social media posts, and it means “laugh out loud.”

Question #2

What part of speech is LOL?

Please select 2 correct answers

Correct! Wrong!

The answers are C and D. We can use LOL as an interjection — for example, LOL! That’s really funny. It can also describe an action — for example, I LOL at his jokes.

Question #3

When is it not appropriate to use LOL?
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is B. LOL is generally not appropriate for professional communication like work email.

Question #4

You must always capitalize LOL.
Correct! Wrong!

The answer is FALSE. There are no capitalization rules for lol.

Question #5

Which of these can be used as alternatives for LOL?

Please select 3 correct answers

There is more than one!
Show hint
Correct! Wrong!

The correct answers are A, B, and D. OMG is used to express surprise, excitement, or disbelief.

Read More: LMAO Meaning And Uses

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Krista Grace Morris

Krista heads up Marketing and Content Creation here at INK. From Linguistics and History to puns and memes, she's interested in the systems we create to share our ideas with each other.

Comments (6)
Most Recent most recent
  1. Qasim Khan August 08 at 3:58 am GMT

    I find this article very very interesting.It amused me and after all I enjoyed it very much

    • Krista Grace Morris Author August 10 at 3:45 pm GMT

      Hi, Qasim! I’m glad we made you LOL 😀 We had a blast writing it! Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to let us know how much you liked the article.

  2. Gulsen Gumus February 19 at 2:31 pm GMT

    FINALLY IK how to and when to say LOL!!!

    • Rechelle Ann Fuertes March 16 at 12:14 pm GMT

      Hi Gulsen! Thank you for reading! We’re glad that this article has helped clear any confusion you might have with using LOL. If you’re interested with other SMS abbreviations or “textese”, we also have articles on LMAO, IKR, and AFK. Feel free to check them out and let us know your thoughts. Have a great day!

  3. KINSLEY LEWIS (Student) March 05 at 4:47 pm GMT

    I use “LOL” a lot. This really helps! thx!

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