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

This article will teach you all about the acronym WYO – how it’s used, the definition, example sentences, and more!

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What does WYO stand for?

WYO is a texting slang that stands for “what you on?” According to Urban Dictionary, this term is used to ask someone if they have plans and if they would like to do an activity or hang out. It can also be used to simply ask someone what they’re doing while catching up. In this context, the meaning of WYO changes to more of a greeting, like “how’s it going?” or “what are you up to?” This phrase is commonly used while texting, or on social media sites like Snapchat or Instagram.

While this acronym is similar to the phrases “what are you on?” and “what are you on about?” they do not have the same meaning. According to Urban Dictionary, “what are you on?” is a phrase that is used when someone does or says something is insane. It implies that the recipient of the question is on drugs or drunk, and the implied lengthened version of the phrase is along the lines of “what drug are you on that is making you this insane?”

“What are you on about?” is another similar phrase in sound, but not in meaning. Urban Dictionary states that this phrase means “what are you talking about?” or “what do you mean?” The phrase is usually use if someone has been talking for a long time about something and the listener has no idea what they’re talking about.

Users should be careful not to use WYO when they mean to say “what are you on?” or “what are you on about?” to someone. In these cases, the reader or listener may be very confused!

WYO as an abbreviation has a few other common meanings, listed below from The Free Dictionary.

  • Wyoming – This is a state in the United States, North America. The capital of the state of Wyoming is Cheyenne. Other cities in Wyoming include Casper, Laramie, and Big Horn.
  • Write-Your-Own
  • World Youth Organization
  • World Youth Orchestra
  • Winnetka Youth Organization

Is WYO casual or formal?

WYO is a casual slang term and should not be used in formal contexts. The term is perfectly acceptable to use with friends and family, but it should never be used in professional emails or letters, or in any other formal capacity. Below is an example of a way in which using WYO would be inappropriate, alongside a revised version.

Kaley just started her own business selling jewelry and is reaching out to business contacts to get advice on marketing. She emails her old boss, Lani.

BAD:

Hey Lani,

It’s Kaley. Wyo? Would luv to catch up sometime. Lmk if ur free next wknd. I started my own business and kno u know a lot abt marketing n stuff. Thx!

L

GOOD:

Hi Lani,

How have you been? I hope you and the business are well. I just started my own business as well! I know you’re very busy, but if you ever have time I would love to take you to lunch and pick your brain on how you got your business off the ground. 

Best Wishes,

Kaley

WYO would be highly inappropriate to use in a professional email such as the above.

How can WYO be used in a sentence?

WYO can be used in a multitude of ways between friends and family, and is commonly used as either a way to greet someone, or a way to ask someone what they are currently doing and if they would like to do something together. Below is an example of how the phrase can be used in context.

Bryan and Allie are friends from school who are on summer vacation. Bryan decides to text Allie.

Bryan: Hey, wyo?

Allie: Nm (not much), just chilling at home. U?

Bryan: Same. Procrastinating my summer assignments lol (laughing out loud). Did u finish yet? If not, wanna work on them today?

Allie: Sure! I’ll come over at 12.

Here, Bryan uses wyo to ask Allie if she is busy and if she would like to work on their summer assignment together. This is a great phrase to use when speaking casually between friends. 

What are synonyms for the acronym WYO?

There are many synonyms for the phrase WYO that can be used to ask what someone is doing or if they would like to do something together. Some of these are also internet slang acronyms! The definitions for the below phrases are provided by Dictionary and Oxford Languages, with some synonyms from Power Thesaurus.

  • WYD – This stands for “what are you doing.”
  • What’s up? – This is an informal greeting to ask someone how they are or what they are doing.
  • Wassup? – A variant of “what’s up?”
  • Waddup?  – A variant of “what’s up?”
  • How are you? – A greeting to ask someone about their emotional state.
  • How’s it going? – A greeting to ask how someone is doing.
  • How’s it hanging? – An informal greeting to ask how someone is.
  • What’s happening? – An informal way to ask someone what they are doing.
  • How goes it? – A variant of “how’s it going?”
  • What’s new? – A greeting one uses when they have not seen someone in a long time.

Overall, the acronym WYO stands for “what you on?” It is a casual phrase that is common in texting, and is used to ask someone what they are currently doing and if they would like to do an activity together, or as a casual greeting.

Sources:

  1. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wyo.html
  2. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=What%20are%20you%20on%3F
  3. https://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/WYO
  4. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=what%20you%20on%20about%3F
  5. https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/whats-up/
  6. https://www.powerthesaurus.org/what%27s_up/synonyms