The Meaning of AFK: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of AFK? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the acronym AFK, including its definition, examples of AFK, usage, other potential means, and more!

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What does the term AFK mean?

According to Cyber Definitions, the term AFC is used in online games and instant messenger conversations. This term stands for “away from keyboard,” which means that you are stepping away from the computer until further notice. This is often used in lowercase or uppercase in the chat function on games like MMORPGs like WOW or Overwatch’s game chat rooms especially if they are a streamer on Twitch, as well as on social media like Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook. Someone might go AFK because they need a short break, to eat or to use the bathroom. The origin of AFK was in IRC, or internet relay chat, which was an early application for online chatting in the 1990s. People do not normally use this internet slang in real life, especially not in a formal atmosphere like workplaces. This term is usually only used by gamers or people on the internet as a slang term.  

The term AFK can stand for many things aside from away from keyboard. Take a look at this list of other potential definitions from The Free Dictionary.

  •  Allerød Fodbold Klub (Danish: Allerød Football Club; Allerød, Denmark)
  •  Aus- und Fortbildungs Gmbh für Elektronische Medien
  •  Always Frisky Kerrans (gaming)
  •  A Free Kill (gaming)
  •  Austriackie Forum Kultury (Polish: Austrian Cultural Forum; Warsaw, Poland)
  •  Afrikaans (SIL code)
  •  Africaans/Afrikaans
  •  All for Kill (gaming)
  •  Absolute Frequency Keying
  •  Aarhus Fridykkerklub (Denmark)
  •  Anadolu Finans Kurumu (Anadolu Finance House)
  •  Afkorting (Dutch: abbreviation)
  •  Anderson Flesher and Key (band)

What are other terms someone might use on an instant messenger?

There are many different old-school internet acronyms that a person might use on something like AOL Instant Messenger. Some of these slang terms from AIM Lingo are outdated, and some we still use today. Now we have many more slang terms you might see on the internet, like YMMV, sus, and more. 

  •  BTW – By The Way
  •  TY – Thank You
  •  WBU – What About You
  •  STFW – Search The F**king Web
  •  FTW – For The Win
  •  POS / “9” – Parent Over Shoulder
  •  TTFNR – Ta-Ta For Now
  •  JK – Just Kidding
  •  OMG – Oh My Gosh/Oh My God
  •  WRUD – What Are You Doing
  •  ASL – Age / Sex / Location ?
  •  NP – No Problem
  •  AIM – AOL Instant Messenger
  •  IRL – In Real Life
  •  LYL – Love You Lots
  •  IMO – In My Opinion
  •  ATM – At The Moment
  •  BF – Boyfriend
  •  YTB – You’re The Best
  •  PPL – People
  •  WE – Whatever
  •  TMI – Too Much Information
  •  SN – Screen Name
  •  BBL – Be Back Later
  •  CTN – Can’t Talk Now
  •  SW – So What?
  •  IDC – I Don’t Care
  •  JIT – Just In Time
  •  HW – HomeWork
  •  GG – Gotta Go, Good Game
  •  LYLAS – Love You Like A Sister
  •  TTUL8R – Talk to You Later
  •  GF – Girlfriend
  •  ROTFLMAO – Rolling On The Floor Laughing My A$$ Off
  •  FYI – For Your Information
  •  KOTC – Kiss On The Cheek
  •  STFU – Shut The F**k Up
  •  LYLAB – Love Ya Like A Brother
  •  YT – You There?
  •  CUI – Cracking Up Inside
  •  NFC – No F**king Clue
  •  WTF – What The F**k
  •  BBS – Be Back Soon
  •  BRB – Be Right back
  •  JMS – Just Making Sure
  •  JIC – Just In Case
  •  SHR – Shower
  •  IDK – I Don’t Know
  •  G2G – Got to Go
  •  JW – Just Wondering
  •  NM / NVM – Nevermind
  •  DN – Don’t Know
  •  SRY – Sorry
  •  LMAO – Laughing My A$$ Off
  •  NS – No Sh*t
  •  CUL8R / CULR – See You Later
  •  TTYL – Talk to You Later
  •  LOL – Laughing Out Loud
  •  NM – Not Much
  •  JAS – Just A Second

What are synonyms and antonyms of AFK?

There are many different equivalent words for the term AFK. These are called synonyms, which are especially important to know if you are trying to say AFK in a polite way that is more appropriate for formal or professional situations. It is not okay to use chat slang in formal or professional situations, so stick to one of these synonyms from Power Thesaurus instead. 

  •  return
  •  well
  •  departed
  •  unavailable
  •  yonder
  •  deep
  •  far
  •  long
  •  somewhere else
  •  instantly
  •  beyond
  •  at arm’s length
  •  independently
  •  far and away
  •  remote
  •  from here
  •  right
  •  far-off
  •  forth
  •  elsewhere
  •  onward
  •  distant
  •  distance
  •  inside
  •  aloof
  •  aside
  •  one side
  •  outlying
  •  hence
  •  left
  •  abroad
  •  absent
  •  afar
  •  far out
  •  gone
  •  far removed
  •  faraway
  •  truant
  •  far off
  •  lacking
  •  not present
  •  out
  •  long-distance
  •  removed
  •  separate
  •  remove
  •  back
  •  backward
  •  not at home
  •  from there
  •  away from
  •  like now
  •  at a distance
  •  long way off
  •  no-show
  •  outward
  •  backwards
  •  near
  •  afield
  •  forthwith
  •  farther
  •  by
  •  incessantly
  •  far away
  •  not here
  •  thereof
  •  without
  •  in the distance
  •  asunder
  •  forward
  •  over
  •  wanting
  •  enough
  •  outside
  •  now
  •  overseas
  •  further
  •  remotely
  •  from
  •  fro
  •  around
  •  absentee
  •  out of
  •  begone
  •  down
  •  from home
  •  leave
  •  out of the way
  •  not in
  •  lost
  •  off
  •  clear
  •  thence
  •  thereupon
  •  omitted
  •  no more
  •  missing
  •  instanter
  •  apart
  •  take

There are also numerous different words that mean the opposite of away from keyboard. These are called antonyms, which are words and phrases that are also useful in expanding your English language vocabulary. Any of these could be sued in a situation in which it is inappropriate to use a slang term. This list of antonyms is provided by Power Thesaurus as well.

  •   toward
  •   in the area
  •   forthcoming
  •   not far from
  •   impending
  •   proximate
  •   handy
  •   approximate
  •   miserly
  •   alongside
  •   closest
  •   in the neighborhood
  •   next to
  •   at hand
  •   next
  •   related
  •   closely
  •   imminent
  •   by
  •   close
  •   convenient
  •   neighbouring
  •   approaching
  •   about
  •   in the vicinity
  •   near
  •   beside
  •   close to
  •   close by
  •   similar
  •   adjoining
  •   approach
  •   contiguous
  •   around
  •   immediate
  •   close at hand
  •   stingy
  •   in the neighbourhood
  •   nigh
  •   almost
  •   penny-pinching
  •   closer
  •   close
  •   near at hand
  •   nearly
  •   neighboring
  •   adjacent
  •   coming
  •   nearby
  •   draw near
  •   in the offing

Overall, AFK means away from keyboard. This is an internet slang term.

Sources:

  1. Learn AIM Lingo – Instant Message Lingo, AOL MSN Chat Slang | AIM Lingo 
  2. Away antonyms – 542 Opposites of Away | Power Thesaurus 
  3. Away synonyms – 1 238 Words and Phrases for Away | Power Thesaurus 
  4. AFK – What does AFK stand for? | The Free Dictionary 
  5. AFK | What Does AFK Mean? | Cyber Definitions