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In the most common definition, FTW stands for "For The Win." It is used to express enthusiasm or appreciation for something, such as showing belief in a sports team or love of your favorite food.
“FTW!” What does it mean when you see this initialism online or in a text? We’ll explain what FTW stands for, its different meanings, and how you can use it properly in writing yourself.

For The Win

The initialism FTW most commonly stands for “For The Win.” Not to be confused with TWF, people use FTW meaning to express appreciation or enthusiasm about a subject, and so it generally has positive connotations. FTW is as likely to be found in online chats and forums as in SMS messaging and social media posts.

FTW is almost universally used at the end of a message or piece of text, for example, “I just had the best noodles! Thai food FTW!” The initialism can also occasionally be used on its own to show agreement with a previous statement.

In some situations and subcultures, such as biker culture, FTW can alternatively stand for “Fuck The World.” This is almost the complete opposite of the more common meaning and is used to express sadness, disappointment with something or someone, or a rebellious spirit.

Although this alternative version is also used at the end of a sentence, the message context should make it easy to interpret the meaning. If you see a person has a tattoo reading FTW, though, it usually stands for “F*** The World.”

The History of FTW

The earliest entry for FTW in Urban Dictionary, the best-known repository of Internet slang, abbreviations, and initialisms, is from 2005. A look at Google Trends shows that people were searching for the term in 2004, so it was certainly being used online before then.

Many user-created definitions refer to FTW in the context of online gaming. This is very likely where it was first regularly used and grew in popularity. It could even have been first used in a much more literal way, for example, “One flag left to capture, final push ftw!”

Interestingly, the “F*** the World” definition of FTW also first appears in Urban Dictionary in the same year, although the negative expression being abbreviated is much, much older.

How to Use FTW in Text

Although FTW can be written using either uppercase or lowercase, the uppercase version is more common. It is often followed by one or more exclamation marks, which further help to drive home its use as an expression of enthusiasm.

Here are a few examples of how FTW can be used in text.

  • “This game is in the bag! Cardinals FTW!”
  • “The pizza last night was amazing. Stuffed crust FTW!”
  • “Come on guys, we can do this. Red team FTW!”
  • “Hate being short. Hight heels ftw!!!”

To learn more about internet acronyms and how to use them correctly, check out our articles on GG, SMH, and TBH.

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Russ is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about technology. He loves exploring and figuring out how complex things work, and sharing that knowledge with others, something he has been doing online and in print for more than 15 years. When not writing for How-To Geek, Russ can usually be found planning his first novel or taking something apart to see how it works.
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