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Mar 5, 2012 09:16 PM

Please explain LOL LOL LOL


I understand that LOL means Laugh Out Loud, but I'm trying to understand when it is used by posters virtually every time. Does it mean everything is funny to them or does it have another meaning that is less than kind? Thanks much for clarification.

  1. It generally just means that their statement is in jest, or they find it slightly amusing.
    People generally do not literally laugh out loud every time they use "LOL".

    1. It would appear that you have used this on another thread - was this before you knew what it meant or after?

      7 Replies
      1. re: linguafood

        As I said in the OP, I assumed it had a single meaning but wasn't sure, I used it on another thread because it seemed like the appropriate response.

        1. re: escondido123

          Were you literally laughing out loud, or just virtually?

            1. re: escondido123

              sometimes "haha" just doesn't cut it. lol. -_-

              1. re: M_and_H

                And, COL, chuckle out loud, hasn't become popular. Sometimes I'll use LOL in place of "funny" as in LOL, I was thinking the same thing. I rarely laugh out loud when I'm online but sometimes I'll CiMH, chuckle in my head.

            2. re: linguafood

              It's the only way I'll be a ventriloquist--I can LOL, across the world, and you never see my lips move.

        2. I think of it as *text speak* in the same vein as when someone says "to die for" or "I could just kill...." or " I almost fainted when...." etc.
          I just have to assume that they are not really laughing out loud(LOL) or rolling on the floor laughing their ass off (ROFLMAO). At least, I have never seen anyone ROFLMAO.....while sober :)

          29 Replies
          1. re: sedimental

            ROFLMAO is simply a way of adding emphasis to a LOL, which is simply shorthand for a bigger lol. Since this is all "sans" live feedback (being virtual and all that) I can see a use for all of these and more. In fact I'm a recent convert to SMOON* myself when it comes to something I really found funny.

            *Snorting Milk Out Of Nose

            1. re: Servorg

              I understand the employment of initialisms in a response, but you don't ordinarily place those at the end of an initial assertion, do you? It seems a bit presumptuous to label one's joke that funny before it has been "heard."

              1. re: MGZ

                Explaining a joke is usually not a good idea as it tends to kill off any humor dead as a door nail. But indicating that one is kidding, while using text only, can be a difficult and problematic deal. So clearly indicating that the statement is being said in jest is a good idea at times, so that the majority of the readers won't take your words/ideas as a literal or serious proposition.

                1. re: MGZ

                  Or maybe it's a way to introduce that a joke or something facetious is coming, a preemptive strike so to speak. With the absence of tone and expression, I don't fault people trying to add something more to written text, especially in quick communications like a message board.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I think that with carfeful articulation it can be done anyway. If your reader doesn't pay enough attention to what's written and misunderstands, that's their fault. The same is possible in spoken communication. Ultimately, good communication requires effort and good communication is a worthy goal.

                      1. re: MGZ

                        While I agree good communication is a worthy goal, misunderstandings do and will happen and if some phrases help reduce that, in a casual setting, I don't think that's a bad thing. This is a message board, not a graduate thesis.

                        1. re: chowser

                          What can I say, I fear that slippery slope. In my online experience, we have been sliding gently for the past twenty years. Oddly, however, I am basically a descriptivist. I simply have trepidations concerning the consequences of written communication getting reduced to a least common denominator level.

                          1. re: MGZ

                            And, while my soapbox is still holding up, I'll add another request. We need to do away with the overuse of IMO and IMHO. So unnecessary, so redundant. I mean, no sh*t it's your opinion, it's a subjective discussion!

                            1. re: MGZ

                              OTOH ;-), when someone's retort to a post of mine is "that's your opinion," well, DUH. My response is "yeah, it's mine, who else's would I be posting???"

                              But I occasionally use IMO, to indicate how subjective I think the matter under discussion is.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Perhaps IM(H)O is overused. I'm kinda with mcf - I use it when I want to indicate that my opinion might not be worth much, kinda like a FWIW.

                                1. re: porker

                                  Exactly, porker. Alternatively, I sometimes write "my$.02; change tendered upon request."

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    me: 2c
                                    wait, "a penny for your thoughts"...someones gettin shortchanged.

                              2. re: MGZ

                                I'm a purist when it comes to printed text or formal writing. I consider message boards like spoken conversation between friends. I use words,phrases with friends that I'd never use in a formal speech, just as I use words and phrases on message boards that I'd never use formally--I have to admit, even on a message board, splitting an infinitive or ending with a preposition still bothers me and I find myself using everyone with his/her because it just seems wrong to use "their." And, don't get me started on whether that period belongs before the quotation mark or after.

                                As the slippery slope goes, that arguably that happened with the printing press when common man could learn to read.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  How about commas separating words?

                                  1. re: porker

                                    Luckily this site is still (per Jim Leff's original mandate) a "spell free - grammar free" zone. Each one of us is quite welcome to write to whatever standards we deem appropriate for our own posts. Fortunately, the privilege stops there. If some other poster ever critiques any other posters spelling or grammar simply report it and *poof!* - critical post be gone...If someone is simply correcting the spelling of a restaurant's name or street name that is allowable as long as no "chiding" the OP for sloppy spelling goes with it...

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      So that means I can tell people that the word is "voila" and not "wa-la" or "wah-lah" as long as I don't make fun of them?

                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                        If the restaurant happens to be called "Voila" and someone posts about it as "Wa-la" you can say for the record that the correct name is Voila so folks don't go running around in circles looking for a place called Wa-la that doesn't happen to exist. But if someone uses the incorrect spelling of the word in the body of their post, and all you plan on doing is posting "No. It's voila" then if someone reports your post it is going to most likely get pulled down for being a product of the "Spelling Police"...(or the "Grammar Police" if you are correcting someones grammar).

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          I don't know if the rules have changed over the years but I mistakenly spelled Michael Pollan's name with an "e" instead of "a". I didn't see deletions but apparently posts that corrected to it were deleted. When I finally saw someone's post before it was deleted, I asked for them to edit it in my post.

                                        2. re: dmjordan

                                          I know the difference, I just use wah lah for fun! Don't assume folks don't know the diff. :-)

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            And if you've watched Julia Child her joke was to say "viola" instead....I can hear her voice in my head.

                                            1. re: escondido123

                                              "I can hear her voice in my head."

                                              I see. How long has it been there, and can other people hear it, or just you? ;-)

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                For years. Just me. But if my husband puts his ear to mine, he can hear the ocean.

                              3. re: MGZ

                                MGZ: Maybe, maybe not. If I read your posts as largely negative/condescending, then have I read into your missives properly?

                                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                  In a way, that's close to making the point. A reader's ability to comprehend dimishes as a consequence of repeated poor articulation. My posts over the years have been almost nothing but WYSIWYG and in the same voice as my spoken conversation. Someone inferring condescension in any type of communication from me is often more telling about them than me.

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    MGZ: I'm sure it is "more telling" ....

                                    1. re: MGZ


                                      See, it happens to the best of us.

                        2. I think of it as internet writing's equivalent of having a persistent facial tic. Back in the day, overenthusiastic writers who don't edit themselves well just used multiple exclamation points at the end of every sentence!!!! Defaulting to 'LOL' multiple times in a single paragraph is basically the same thing!!!!!!!!!111!!!

                          31 Replies
                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            I basically agree. Moreover, "LOL," when used in a non-responsive fashion, is just bad writing. It's a lazy way to apologize for the inability to articulate an attempt at levity or to obscure a passive aggressive assertion that may not be popular. At bottom, it has become roughly synonymous with the colon/parenthesis smiley face. Each is, at best, a simplistic device to permit bad writers to communicate something and, at worst, the web equivalent of baby talk.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              " the inability to articulate an attempt at levity "

                              While some might be amazing writers and able to articulate levity easily, if using LOL is allowing bad writers to communicate, I don't think that's a negative. It's more democratization of the internet and giving everyone access to having his/her opinion heard. It's often hard to read intent w/out seeing the person's face and there is often enough, misunderstanding because of it. There is a world of difference in, "LOL, maybe she's a cow" or "Maybe she's a cow." Maybe simplistic but effective.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                That's fine with me, I don't need everyone on chowhound to be a "good" writer. It's about the food. I'm just glad we use punctuation.

                                1. re: julesrules

                                  I agree completely that it's about the food. Consequently, there should be no need for attempting humor that may not be understood. Further, it's not just about bad writing, it's often just lazy writing which is as much of a detriment to serious "conversation" as it is to levity

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    "Consequently, there should be no need for attempting humor that may not be understood."

                                    Now, that made me lol...

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        If my irony is deficient is my humor anemic?

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            I am heading in for an immedate and massive transconfusion, directly into my funny bone. Ironically I hope that the transconfusion is full of infectious humor...

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              I know this response is a tad feverish, but you'd better get on that STAT! IME and AFAIK, delaying treatment can lead to status of "humerus DOA" among other tragic consequences.

                                  2. re: MGZ

                                    Your comment on passive aggressiveness is something that I wonder about when comments are almost always followed by LOL. It's like when someone says something you find critical/annoying and their response is "Well, I was only kidding."

                                    1. re: escondido123

                                      "It's like when someone says something you find critical/annoying and their response is "Well, I was only kidding.""

                                      Another excellent reason to be seen as kidding up as to remove all doubt about one's intent...

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        But saying you're only kidding--or using LOL to show your supposed intent--doesn't give one free reign to then be unpleasant.

                                        1. re: escondido123

                                          True. But "unpleasant" is like "beauty" in that it's all in the eye of the beholder...

                                          1. re: escondido123

                                            I agree. I guess I haven't noticed the use of LOL more than many other ways of mocking other posters, both aggressive and passive aggressive ones.

                                        2. re: escondido123

                                          I've seen that. Or a smiley face after a critical post, as though you can automatically stay in anyone's good graces as long as you include colonD at the end of any post.

                                          In the context of an actual argument, a 'LOL' is basically just added to piss off and mock the other party, having pretty much the opposite intent from its usual vaguely-friendly-but-thoughtless effect.

                                          Example: "I can't believe you think you can make a good pad thai in a cast iron skillet - LOLOLOLOL!" The mods really should look the other way whenever this kind of thing comes up and just let other posters rip the LOLOLOLer to shreds. For the good of the internet.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            I think the mods should just pull it down. Frankly, in such a case, nothing short of reaching through the screen and ripping someone's lungs out through his/her nostrils is going to suffice.

                                            IMO. ;-)

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              Here's hoping the technology to do so is right around the corner. Maybe Skype could develop it, though of course that would mean that it doesn't work 80% of the time.

                                            2. re: cowboyardee

                                              I opened this thread thinking its title referred to the recent-ish (I think) development of emphasizing how very vigorously you are laughing out loud with a long line of alternating Ls and Os. I find it startling to see this. It sounds in my head like the deranged person next to me on the subway has broken into uncontrollable cackling. Because it makes no sense: it's not an acronym, as LOL is.

                                              A couple of weeks ago I saw a post that upped the ante even more: LOOOOOOOL. I guess that's when the deranged person cackles with such force that she runs out of breath and keels over.

                                              I once read an anecdote about a guy who thought LOL stood for "lots of love." Things got awkward when he sent an email that said something like, "I was so sorry to hear that your grandmother died. LOL."

                                              1. re: small h

                                                "A couple of weeks ago I saw a post that upped the ante even more: LOOOOOOOL. I guess that's when the deranged person cackles with such force that she runs out of breath and keels over."
                                                That would be laughing so hard you lose your breath and pass out on the keyboard. Your cat has to press the 'submit' button.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  Don't give people any ideas. 'Cause I'm starting to think this barrel ain't got no bottom.

                                                2. re: small h

                                                  "I was so sorry to hear that your grandmother died. LOL."

                                                  oh that is rich (and I did indeed audibly chuckle)

                                                  does anybody else get a sort of sarcastic vibe when someone employs LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL"? it strikes me as someone saying "har de har har. har."

                                                  I understand the casual use of LOL once in a sentence, but in a series it comes across as either condescending or dismissive (smiley-yet-vexed face emoticon as YMMV)

                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                    <in a series it comes across as either condescending or dismissive>

                                                    Yep. Not "what you said was funny," but "what you said was laughable."

                                                    1. re: small h

                                                      Which is ironic, b/c that is *exactly* how the OP used it on another thread.


                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        That would be because the OP was trying to make a point.

                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                          well in that spirit, hill food wasn't commenting on the OP's usage, but rather something encountered in hill food's past (3rd person IS fun!)

                                                          and thanks small h - it is good when one finds one is not alone interpreting an ambiguity.

                                                  2. re: small h

                                                    > LOL stood for "lots of love."

                                                    My 87 year old father signs all his emails LOL by which he means Lots of Love, and I'm just happy he can still do email.

                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                      And if you and he both know what he means, the communication is a success and everybody wins. My grandmother could never get the hang of using capital letters or punctuation in emails (her handwritten letters were fine). That was before texting was common, so maybe she was just ahead of her time.

                                                      1. re: small h

                                                        oh god basic "netiquette" anybody over say 60 or 70 gets a hall pass and anybody under gets ignored for POSTING LIKE THIS. sheesh once I had thought I'd royally ticked off upper management in another city and of that demographic only to call directly and find all was fine, they just didn't know better, there was a point to be made, but they didn't realize how it came across on the monitor.

                                                        I have refused to communicate with some relatives by e-mail because of this. phone is fine. e-mail some will just never understand.. and they ain't changing.

                                            3. re: cowboyardee

                                              I like your facial tic comparison. I see it as a verbal tic, as a teenager might use "like";
                                              Like when we were in the park, this guy came up and, like, just mouthed off. Then Jordan says, like, get the hell out of here. Then we all ran for, like an hour.
                                              or some people use "you know" or "follow me" or "see" throughout their sentances.

                                            4. I think some people use it when they feel sheepish, for instance when someone points out that the topic has already been covered, that the restaurant is closed that day... as in "You're right! LOL" In "real life" laughter can be a way to diffuse discomfort, so why not virtually? (Just a guess.)