What Does "SMH" Stand For? This Text Abbreviation Is Strangely Useful

Here's exactly how to use this handy text acronym.

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In today's age of tech addiction, the mighty English language has been dwindled down to communicating in text slang and emojis. And it's hard to keep up. Everyone knows what "LOL" and "BRB" mean, but it seems like new acronyms are popping up everyday on your phone and in your social media feed, leaving you feeling out-of-touch. For instance, did you know that "BAE" stands for "before anyone else" and is not just a lazy version of "baby"? Or that "IMHO" can alternately stand for "in my humble opinion" or "in my honest opinion"? Lately, you may have found yourself wondering what "SMH" means; fortunately, we're here to clear up the confusion.

If you assumed that it stands for "so much hate," you'd be forgiven. But it's actually a shortened way of saying "shaking my head." While its proper usage is in response to someone writing something so off-base that the recipient can only shake their head in response, it's also often used to express general disbelief or disappointment. It's basically the new-and-improved version of <facepalm>.

When you find yourself at a loss for words you can always turn to "SMH" to demonstrate your exasperation. To help out those new to using this very useful text slang, we've put together a few examples of when it's appropriate:

When someone tells you how to feel.

Actually had someone say I was using "reasoning" to win an argument like it was a bad thing, smh…

A disagreement via little blue and white text bubbles is the perfect place to use "SMH." If you're arguing through text, and the person on the other end tells you to "calm down," you can shoot back, "SMH at the disrespect" to let them know how appalled you are. Sometimes there are no words, and you have to resort to explaining your body language.

When the team you're rooting for doesn't win.

MRW someone tells me to stop shaking my head from left to right

When Robby Anderson drops a pass that should have easily landed in his hands, you'll be feeling some animosity towards your team. This is the perfect time to tweet out "SMH at Anderson's performance today." Then you and your buddies you can commiserate about the trials of cheering for a losing team.

When your friend says something ridiculous.

View post on imgur.com

We all have a friend who is super book-smart but lacks a bit of common sense. When that friend refers to Africa as a country, you have full rein to respond with "SMH." In this case, "SMH" speaks for itself in demonstrating just how speechless you have been rendered.

When someone makes poor choices.

I found this while looking for a gif to show my wife how I feel about filing our taxes. I like how it goes from "I'm not sure, to him shaking his head NO."

Waking up to a text from a friend saying, "So I did something…" is never a good sign. In fact, it's safe to assume that whatever your friend did, whether it be dancing on top of a table or posting their karaoke performance to YouTube, "SMH" is an apt reply.

See? Understanding and communicating with "SMH" is a cinch when you know exactly what it means. But we can't promise that tomorrow won't bring a brand new text acronym to decode.

Additional reporting by Diana Bruk.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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