Grammar 6 min read

LOL Meaning and How to Use it Correctly

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.

Main Takeaways:

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  • LOL means “laugh out loud,” not “lots of love.”
  • Texters and internet users often use LOL in conversations.
  • LOL is a verb and an interjection.
  • There are no capitalization rules for LOL.
  • LMAO and KEK are alternatives to LOL.

You text a friend or post something online, and your content receives a lol.” Is your loved one insulting you or complimenting you?

Learn the meaning of this internet jargon so you can use it correctly during conversations.

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.

What is LOL?

LOL is an acronym for “laugh out loud” commonly used in social media posts and text messages. Grammatically, it’s classified as a verb and an interjection. An interjection is a word that depicts emotion, such as oh, eh, or aww. This slang term is appropriate for casual conversation. It’s considered text speak or textese because it often appears in digital communications. For this reason, it’s generally not suitable for formal settings.

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 Does LOL Mean?

LOL means laugh out loud,” though some people mistakenly believe it means “lots of love.” Some users also use LOL to convey the phrase laughing out loud. You don’t have to laugh out loud to use this acronym, though. It’s generally understood that this phrase simply means you find something funny. Nobody expects you to laugh out loud when you say LOL, but it’s okay if you do.

When Should you use LOL?

LOL is appropriate for casual conversations online or in text messages where you find something funny. You should use textese such as LOL during casual conversations. It’s not appropriate for many professional or educational settings. You might find something mildly amusing or completely hilarious. Some also use LOL in a passive-aggressive manner.

You might use LOL when:

  • Viewing a funny meme
  • Reading a joke
  • Watching a funny video
  • Reading a silly story
  • Seeing a funny photo
LOL is a slang commonly used in casual digital conversations like text messages, forums, and chat.
LOL is a slang commonly used in casual digital conversations like text messages, forums, and chat.

1. Passive-Agreesive and Sarcastic LOLing

Some people also use LOL to be passive-aggressive. It may occur 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.

2. Formal vs. Informal Speech

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

Despite these suggestions, it’s often difficult to switch between casual and formal terms. Many people use textese when communicating with teachers, supervisors, or clients.

Half of the students confess text speak finds a way into schoolwork, but that’s not always a bad thing. In fact, some speech-language pathologists believe textese can boost social skills. It may also improve overall language skills in kids who are struggling with speech.

Should You 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.

  • LOLZ
  • lololol
LOL is a term that you can use in writing to express genuine amusement.
LOL is a term that you can use in writing to express genuine amusement.

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

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

OMG that’s hilarious, lol lol lol

You can also use other acronyms, such as LMAO or LMFAO.

LOL Meaning in a Text vs. Online

The LOL definition is the same whether you use it online or in a text message. You can use this popular acronym whenever you find something funny.

The meaning of LOL remains the same even when used on different communication platforms.
The meaning of LOL remains the same even when used on different communication platforms.

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.”

Mix it Up With These LOL Alternatives

LOL shows that you find something funny, but what about when you find something absolutely hilarious?

In this situation, you may find it better to use terms like LMAO or LMFAO.

1. LMAO Meaning

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.

2. LMFAO 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 Meaning

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.

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.

Read More: LMAO Meaning And Uses

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