Man looking at his phone with stressed expression.
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Have you ever seen someone post about a wildly unlucky situation, followed by the letters “FML?” Here’s what that initialism means and how you can use it in your next frustrating moment.

F*** My Life

FML stands for “fuck my life.” It’s an acronym you use when you’re under a lot of stress, or something very unlucky happens to you. It usually comes after a story about a recent unfortunate event as a way of punctuating how bad someone feels about what just happened. Depending on the situation, FML can be either humorous and ironic or genuinely angry.

You can write the acronym in both the lowercase “fml” and the uppercase “FML.” You can see it frequently in chats, texts, and other informal forms of communication. For example, someone might send you a message that reads, “I decide to go out for a walk for the first time in a week, and it starts pouring rain. FML.”

It is similar to the acronym “TIHI,” which means “thanks, I hate it,” as both acronyms refer to something that makes you frustrated or uncomfortable. However, while TIHI often relates to something external, like an image or situation you just saw, FML is specifically about something that happened in your own life.

Where FML is From

FML can be traced back to early internet message boards, where users would often share unfortunate anecdotes from their lives. These stories would often include “FML” to highlight their lousy luck.

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The first definition of FML on the internet slang archive Urban Dictionary can be traced back to 2005. However, it has likely been in use earlier. Since its rise on the internet, it has become a staple of internet conversations and stories, often appearing on social media and instant messaging.

FML is a very common term on Twitter. Because of the short word count on the platform, users will often use acronyms to communicate their feelings on something. FML often appears at the end of a tweet.

Frustrating Situations

Exhausted woman with face planted on desk next to computer and office supplies.
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The types of situations that can make one go “FML” can vary from person to person. It can range from a simple annoyance, such as accidentally leaving your wallet at home, to an absurdly unfortunate instance, such as breaking your leg by falling three flights of stairs.

A common way to use FML is to convey your frustration at trying to accomplish something repeatedly to no avail. For example, you’ve been trying to finish the final level of a video game for the last 12 hours. Not only are you overwhelmed by the difficulty of the game, but you’re also a bit mad that you spent half of your day playing the same fight over and over again. Therefore, you might tweet out an exasperated, “I absolutely hate this game. FML.”

FML Stories

You can often find FML at the end of a story. These stories can vary in length, from a brief tweet to a full recounting of one’s life. However, what they all have in common is some embarrassing or unfortunate situation in them, and the writer wants you to know that they’re not pleased about it.

There are a few places online where you can find interesting FML-related stories. One of these is fmlife.com, a website where users can anonymously post anecdotes that made them go “FML.” Users can then vote between two options: “I agree, your life sucks” or “you deserved it.” The website even has a hall-of-fame for some of the most popular and wild stories.

How to Use FML

Unlike other acronyms, we hope that you never really have to use “FML” to describe how you’re feeling. However, if you find yourself in an especially frustrating situation and are looking for the right words to describe it, FML might be an excellent way to tell your story.

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While you can place FML at the start of your sentence, it’s more powerful when it punctuates the end of a story. Here are a few examples of FML in action:

  • “I completely forgot to bring the present to the birthday party. FML.”
  • “I wasn’t able to get tickets because I overslept, fml.”
  • “I got hit by a bus. I survived, but then the ambulance I was in got hit by lightning. FML!”

If you want to learn more fascinating internet acronyms, check out our pieces on IDC, RN, and LMK. You’ll be an online slang savant in no time!

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Vann Vicente Vann Vicente
Vann Vicente has been a technology writer for four years, with a focus on explainers geared towards average consumers. He also works as a digital marketer for a regional e-commerce website. He's invested in internet culture, social media, and how people interact with the web.
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