25 English gaming phrases and what they mean


With an estimated 3.24 billion video gamers in the world, gaming can be an exhilarating and practical way to improve your language skills. To succeed at many of the most popular online games, you need to co-operate and communicate with other players – often against the clock. So, when it comes to those games popular with English speakers, the better you know gamer slang, the better your gaming experience will be.

If you’re new to it, gaming language can seem a world away from formal English. Get online and you’ll soon find that gamer talk is peppered with acronyms, slang and distinctive words that describe everything from a player’s gaming style to the enemies you encounter in the virtual world.

The good news is that getting to grips with English gaming phrases isn’t difficult. Even if you’re a noob, learning the most common gaming vocabulary will give you a great start – whether you’re playing Minecraft, Fortnite, League of Legends, World of Warcraft or any of the other hugely popular Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOs / MMOGs) that are out there.

To get you started, we take a look at 25 common English gaming phrases and what they mean. To make things simple, we’ve put them into two groups – Gaming Acronyms and Gamer Slang. GLHF!

Gaming Acronyms

  1. BRB. This means ‘Be Right Back’ – handy for when you need to grab a drink. If you’re away from the game for longer, use AFK (‘Away From Keyboard).
  2. CU / CYA. Leaving the game? These mean ‘see you’ / ‘see ya’ (goodbye).
  3. DLC. This stands for Downloadable Content – extra features that you can download from within the game, like characters, tools, costumes, levels and other items. Some DLCs are free, while others cost money.
  4. GG / GGWP. If someone has played well, say so with GG (Good Game) or GGWP (Good Game, Well Played). But be careful – GG can also be used sarcastically to taunt a losing player (i.e. it means ‘Bad Game’!) or to brag about a victory (GG EZ means ‘Good Game, Easy’).
  5. GLHF. Good Luck, Have Fun. Often used in a friendly way to wish other players luck at the beginning of a game.
  6. IRL. In Real Life – this is used to refer to something happening in the real world, not the game.
  7. MP. Magic Points or Mana Points – these measure your power to use special magical abilities.
  8. OTW. This is ‘On The Way’. You can say this to tell other players you’re on the way to help them.
  9. WTT. ‘Want To Trade’. Use this to tell another player you want to trade an item or items.
  10. XP. These are (E)Xperience Points – as you progress through levels, gain new skills and powers, you build up XP.


Gamer Slang

Had enough of acronyms for the time being? Then try out these words and phrases…

  1. Adds. These are ‘additional enemies’ which you often have to fight during ‘boss’ encounters (see no. 13)
  2. Bots. A bot is an automated, non-human opponent – some games let you play against bots if you’re not online. Sometimes you’ll see human players calling other people bots, but it’s best to avoid this as it’s an insult.
  3. Boss A ‘boss’ is a really tough enemy who frequently appears at the end of a level or a game. Defeating them can take a hard-won combination of skills, weapons or powers.
  4. Buff / Nerf. Any change that makes in-game characters or weapons more powerful is called a ‘buff’. The opposite is a ‘nerf’. The term ‘nerf’ comes from a brand of toy guns with soft bullets (i.e. ones that are designed to not cause injury!)
  5. Camping. This phrase refers to staying or hiding in one place or area of an online world. Some players do this to surprise and ambush enemies. Lots of players frown on this behaviour.
  6. Cheesing. If you’re cheesing, you’re using powerful strategies that are easy to deploy and nearly impossible for an opponent to beat. Sometimes people do this by taking advantage of a glitch in a game.
  7. Easter Eggs. An Easter egg is a hidden feature, reference, in-joke or message in a game. This article has 15 of the best over the years.
  8. Farming / Grinding. Grinding refers to a player performing repetitive tasks to gain benefits such as weapons, loot or XP. Farming is similar, but is used when a character repeatedly acquires loot from a single source.
  9. Hacking / Hacker.Hacking / Hacker. These words mean cheating or a cheater – if someone is being called a hacker, other players are accusing them of cheating in some way.
  10. Get Rekt / Git Rekd. These mean ‘get wrecked’. You’d use them to describe a player who has suffered a major defeat. It’s often used as an insult, so be careful when using it.
  11. Mats. Short for ‘materials’, such as wood, stone, brick and metal in games like Fortnite.
  12. Pwned. A misspelling of ‘owned’, if you’ve been pwned it means you’ve been beaten in a game.
  13. Noob. This word means ‘newbie’ – someone who’s an inexperienced player.
  14. Ragequit. This is when someone gets so enraged during a game that they stop playing and leave.
  15. Stomp. A stomp is a very one-sided game – if someone on your team says ‘we’re getting stomped’, it means they think things are going badly!

Why gaming phrases boost your English learning

As you can see, the language of gaming is rich, amusing and ingenious, as well as great fun to use. The beauty of using online games to improve your English is that you can interact with thousands of different players worldwide – while enjoying yourself so much that you almost forget you’re learning.

So, whether you’re into role-playing games, no-nonsense first-person shooter games, simulations, strategy games or something completely different, use them to develop your knowledge of gaming phrases. As you’ll discover in English Online’s live online classes, the key to learning a language is to experiment and practise in ways you enjoy – not to ragequit!