Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

acronyms in English

Do you ever hear native speakers using acronyms like “FYI” or “AKA”?

If you want to really connect with native speakers then you need to know what these acronyms mean when you hear them and you should be able to use them too, just like native speakers.

In today’s episode we’ll answer a question from a listener about an acronym and we’ll show you some of the most common ones that you should be able to understand in order to connect with natives.


Hi Lindsay and Michelle

“When I was younger I used to watch all episodes of “Friends” and I started last week to watch it again. It is so funny to see all the 90th stuff there 🙂

In the title song there is this line: your love life goes DOA. So my question is, what does that mean? In the internet I found this explanation: “Dead on Arrival” and they explain that this phrase is for guarantee when something is broken you have ordered. Maybe the line in the song means, that the love is dead right from the start or something like that?

Is that right and are there more of this abbreviations we should know and which we could use in a different meaning?

I didn’t find episodes on that topic so maybe I used the wrong words for searching or you could maybe answer that?

Thanks again for your great work, I look forward to join you in the “adventure class” :)”


Ina from Swiss 



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What does “DOA” mean?

This acronym that is used in the Friends theme song “Your love life’s DOA” stands for “Dead on Arrival.”

This means that something is finished right from the start.

It means that something never got started or never gained any momentum.

This expression has become well known with the song.

We don’t know if anyone can use it without thinking of Friends!


Other abbreviations in English:

  • RSVP: “Repondez s’il vous plait!” This means please respond or please get back to us and let us know if you can come. It is used a lot in party invitations.


  • AKA: “Also Known As” We use this when we want another way to say something.


  • TBD: “To Be Determined” We might use this when we announce a party or event for a specific date but the location has not been decided. In this case we would say “Location TBD.”


  • TBA:  “To Be Announced” We might use this in a similar way to “TBD”


  • SMH: “Shake my head”


  • FYI: “For Your Information”


  • PS: “Post Script”


  • ETA: “Estimated Time of Arrival”


  • *LOL: “Laughing Out Loud”


There are so many more but these are great to get started with.

You will start to hear these everywhere if you pay attention.

Do you use acronyms in your first language?

Let us know in the comments below.

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