It’s one of the most popular slang terms on the web for a reason. Here’s what BC means and how it can save you a few extra seconds whenever you type a sentence explaining yourself.
BC stands for “because.” Unlike other internet slang terms we’ve covered, “BC” isn’t an acronym. Instead, it’s an abbreviation that shortens the word but completely retains its meaning. Since it’s an abbreviation, it’s rarely written in the uppercase BC; instead, most people write it in the lowercase “bc” or the sentence-case “Bc” if it’s at the start of a post.
In English, “because” is a conjunction that can be placed at either the start of a sentence or in the middle. You can put the abbreviation in either spot as well. For example, you can write, “Bc I slept well last night, I have a lot of energy.” Alternatively, “I have a lot of energy bc I slept well last night” is also a perfectly valid sentence.
The Origin of BC
We’ve talked a lot about how internet acronyms sprung up on message boards and IRC chat in the 1990s. However, internet abbreviations like “bc” are a more recent phenomenon, emerging in the mid to late 2000s on instant messaging applications.
As teenagers started flocking to platforms like AOL Instant Messenger, MSN, and Yahoo Messenger, they looked for inventive ways to cut down on the amount of typing they needed to do. This also coincided with the adoption of SMS, which had a limit on the number of characters in a single message.
The first definition for bc as “because” on the internet slang repository Urban Dictionary dates back to April 2008 and reads, “bc is an abbreviation for the word because.” There are dozens of other definitions predating this one that has nothing to do with “because,” including “birth control” and “be cool.” None of these stuck around.
In the 2010s, people across the internet adopted bc as an abbreviation for because. Nowadays, you’ll see it on tweets, in messages from your family, and in the captions of Instagram stories. It’s one of the prime examples of the internet deciding to shave a few letters off a common word.
Shorter and Shorter
BC is probably one of the most straightforward internet slang terms online. It’s short and simplifies a common word, which helps us construct sentences faster. However, it does have a few interesting implications for the way we write on the internet.
In the early days of the web, web acronyms were usually strung together to save space and send messages quickly. So, for example, you might see a message that reads “BRB, AFK,” which stands for “Be right back. Away from keyboard.”
On the other hand, you’ll often see the abbreviated “bc” in otherwise complete sentences. For example, “I’m tired bc I worked all day yesterday.” For many people who send hundreds of messages to other people every day, the abbreviation has completely replaced the word itself. This is similar to other abbreviations like “ok” replacing “okay,” and “srsly” replacing “seriously.”
Like other internet terms we’ve covered, the abbreviated “because” isn’t the only definition for the BC. Here are a few different meanings that you should watch out for.
The most ubiquitous definition for BC is “Before Christ,” a historical and religious term that denotes a year or period of history in Gregorian calendars predating the birth of Christ. This term likely conjured up an image of cave dwellers and dinosaurs for many people. This initialism is typically spelled out with periods between the letters, as in “B.C.,” and placed after a numerical year like “300 B.C.” It’s the counterpart of AD, which stands for “anno Domini.”
Another meaning for BC that you might see on the internet is “British Columbia,” the westernmost province of Canada. There’s also Boston College, a private university in Massachusetts. Lastly, you might see BC confused for “BCC,” which stands for blind carbon copy. This feature of modern e-mail clients allows you to copy someone in an e-mail without informing the recipient.
How to Use BC
Using bc is incredibly easy: just swap it out for “because” in all your messages! Don’t forget to write it in lowercase. While people widely understand it online, you should still avoid using this abbreviation in your professional e-mails.
Here are a few examples of bc in action:
- “Why am I hungry? Bc I haven’t eaten in 15 hours.”
- “The road is closed bc of construction work.”
- “Bc I am lazy, I decided to stay home the whole day.”
- “Did you sleep late bc of the party last night?”
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