What does AFK mean? Get To Know About This Gen-Z abbreviation

    You were probably acquainted with the term “AFK previously. It may be possible that one of your friends or co-worker took a small break from work and sent a message to you like, “brb, afk”. It is also possible that you have seen this term in an online game. Have you ever wondered about “What does AFK mean?

    In this article, we will explain to you what does AFK mean and all about what it implies and how it is used by the Gen-Z in the modern world.

    If you wondered about “what does AFK mean”, then you must know that the full form of “AFK” is “away from keyboard”. It implies that you have left your computer or device for some time and is unable to respond to your messages. This can also mean that you have gone offline entirely.

    What does AFK mean? Get to know about the Gen-Z abbreviation

    In most cases, when a person types “AFK”, they are trying to say that they will return within a short period of time. There are some common cases in which a person may use AFK, like, taking small time for rest, or while answering the door, etc. It is also used with the term “BRB” (be right back) in many situations. Therefore, very often, you can see the term that says, “brb, afk”.

    While using for other person, it may imply that, that person is offline for some time, and you are not aware when or if they are coming back.

    About the origin of AFK

    If you want to know what does AFK mean and where did it come from, then, you must be aware that, like many other informal internet acronyms, “AFK“ also originated in online IRC chatrooms at the time of 1980-90s. While in a chatroom, people used to let others know that they were leaving their computer for some time. In some cases, it can be done for preventing someone from logging off while chatting.

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    Knowing more about common abbreviations and what does AFK mean?

    Today, you can definitely expect a reply from someone at any time. But at that time, people were not connected with their computers or the internet for the entire day. Therefore, it was a good thing to let others know that you will be “AFK” for some time.

    After the emergence of instant Messaging apps like AIM and Yahoo messenger, they offered users the opportunity to include a status under their usernames showing their current situation or mental state. For this, many people often use “AFK” as their status, which can also indicate being busy.

    The oldest use for AFK on Urban Dictionary was made in the year 2002, where it also showed as “away from keyboard”. From that time it became a frequently used internet term, mainly due to the increase in gaming communities.

    In cases of online gaming

    AFK became very popular widely when people started using it in multiplayer online role-playing games. However, in gaming AFK is also used to indicate the players who are not playing currently. But you have to remember that suddenly going AFK within a team-based game can also be damaging, especially if that person does not inform previously that they will sign off. It may even force an entire team to quit their match.

    For this reason many games have systems that have playing restrictions or penalties to dissuade players from going AFK suddenly.

    The term “AFK” is also used widely among gamers or users during the period of live streams on Twitch. At the time of live streaming if someone leaves the computer, they can indicate that they are AFK by placing a notification on their screen. While that person is away, those who are present in the process of live chat are able to inform others who join after the streamer is AFK.

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    The process of using AFK

    As the term AFK is a casual internet term, it will be the best option to avoid its usage in professional situations. Whereas, you can definitely use some of its synonyms like offline or logged-off.

    But if you want to use it in your online chats which are casual ones, then here are some examples of AFK in action:

    “Going AFK, will be back in five”

    “Tom went AFK for some time to get refreshed”.

    “Don’t go AFK all of a sudden, temporary timeout from the game….”

    Though it AFK is a non-professional term, but, it can prove to be your good friend in many cases while you are online.

    Now that you know what does AFK mean, if you want to read more interesting facts about everyday things and science and technology related topics, you can read our other blogs. Try out our blog on How Hot Is The Sun? Interesting Facts.


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