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While “BB” can have a lot of meanings on the internet, the most popular is a pet name between romantic partners and close friends. Keep reading to learn more about this unique abbreviation.

BB Means Baby

“BB” is most commonly used on the internet (and in text messages) as an abbreviated form of “baby.” However, “baby” in this context is used as a pet name or term of endearment for your romantic partner and not an infant child.

BB is ubiquitous in modern relationships between young people, where direct messages and chat apps are primary forms of communication. This abbreviation is a shorthand way of showing your affection to your partner. You can also use BB as a platonic but affectionate nickname for a friend, especially if you have a strong and established friendship.

Like other shorthand slang terms in text messages, this abbreviation is primarily written in the lowercase “bb” rather than the uppercase “BB.” On top of that, many acronyms use the uppercase BB, while the lowercase version almost exclusively refers to “baby.” BB is already an abbreviation of a fairly short word, so some people ditch the shorthand altogether and use “baby” or babe.” Alternatively, you might see some people use variations such as “bby,” “b2,” or even just “b.”

The History of BB

While “baby” has been a pet name for a romantic partner long before the internet age, the widespread use of BB is pretty recent. The first entry for this abbreviation on Urban Dictionary was made in 2006 and referred to it as “Netspeak for baby, normally placed at the end of a text.”

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However, the widespread use of BB started in the 2010s, with the rise of smartphones and chat apps becoming the primary form of communication between teenagers. This was when the term exploded as a pet name between both lovers and friends.

Other BBs

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Since many phrases can be shortened to BB, this acronym might refer to other things online. One of the most common uses is baseball, where BB is an acronym for “base on balls,” also known as a walk. This happens when the catcher manages to catch four pitches that classify as a “ball,” and the batter gets to move to first base without the danger of going “out.” You might also see the acronym BB%, which stands for “base on balls rate” — it’s the statistical frequency that a pitcher will allow a batter to walk.

Other internet-specific definitions for BB include “bye-bye,” a largely defunct acronym that was more common in the early days of the internet. On online spaces with younger users, BB might also stand for “bad b****,” a term of endearment for women with a dominating personality. If you go on online forums, BB might be shorthand for “bulletin board,” and the markup language used on these websites is called BBCode.

There are also a few other cultural definitions for BB. If you hang around social media circles and forums that talk about TV, BB might also stand for Big Brother, a prominent reality show franchise involving a group of strangers living together in the same house. You can use BB to mean “basketball,” especially in internet communities dedicated to the sport. Lastly, in beauty communities, BB refers to “beautifying balm,” a multi-purpose cream that acts as both a foundation and a moisturizer.

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How to Use BB

Young couple standing back to back and texting.
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Before you start calling someone “BB,” you might need to establish ground rules. If it’s someone you’re romantically interested in, you have to be in a relationship with them or in the process of courting them. When you’re well-established enough to give each other pet names, you might want to try calling them “baby” or “babe” in person before you start calling them “bb” in chat. If you’re going to use “BB” in a platonic way, then you can get away with simply inserting it in a casual text.

Here are a few examples of “BB” in action:

  • “Are you working tonight bb?”
  • “I love you, bb.”
  • “Are you okay bb? Do you need help?”
  • “Hey bb! I haven’t seen you in forever. How have you been?”

Do you want to learn more internet slang terms? Check out our explainers on TMI, LFG, and SRSLY and expand your web vocabulary.

RELATED: What Does "TMI" Mean, and How Do You Use It?

Profile Photo for 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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