What Is AFAIK? What Does AFAIK Mean?

This internet slang conveys uncertainty

AFAIK, the acronym for "As Far As I Know," is used to convey uncertainty when answering a question in online texts or email. This acronym is used in both uppercase AFAIK and lowercase afaik form. This expression is also used interchangeably with the acronym IIRC (If I Recall Correctly).

So, you could be having a conversation with someone who asks, "WYD tonight?" where you respond, "AFAIK, nothing."

Examples of AFAIK Usage

Illustration of a woman reading a phone screen. "Can cats eat chocolate?" "AFAIK, it's poisonous"
Lifewire / Jiaqi Zhou

Here are some ways that AFAIK is used:

  • AFAIK, WikiLeaks is where you go to blow the whistle on your boss.
  • Afaik, chocolate is really bad for dogs.
  • Canada has not executed a prisoner in the 20th or 21st centuries, afaik.
  • Any legal resident of the U.S. can join the Marine Corps, AFAIK.

Example of AFAIK Usage

User 1: I need a suggestion for how to best feed our two malamute dogs and our german shepherd. They are all big eaters and are all over 75 lbs each. Our GSD is allergic to chicken meal.

User 2: AFAIK, the best neutral food for dogs with sensitive stomachs is either lamb or turkey or white fish. Perhaps try Orijen or Acana brand kibble for large breeds?

Example of AFAIK Usage

User 1: I saw some really crazy stuff at work today. The shippers were throwing customers' boxes around and kicking them like footballs.

User 2: What? That's nuts! People will lose their jobs for that!

User 1: AFAIK that is cause for dismissal at our warehouse.

User 2: Did you get video?

User 1: I tried, but they saw me watching them.

User 2: Dude, video them next time and show your boss. That's dishonest and customers deserve better.

Example of AFAIK Usage

User 1: Can cats eat chocolate? I think our cat was nibbling on this dark chocolate bar in the kitchen.

User 2: AFAIK, chocolate is poisonous to cats and dogs when eaten in large portions. Like half a chocolate bar or more.

User 1: Really? Good thing it was only a little bit! 

User 2: I suggest you watch him carefully and take him to the vet if he starts to seem lethargic or out of sorts!

Example of AFAIK Usage

User 1: Does Canada sanction capital punishment?

User 2: AFAIK, Canada has never executed a prisoner in the 20th or the 21st century.

User 1: Sounds about right. Canadians are nice people.

The AFAIK expression, like many cultural curiosities of the internet, is a part of modern English communication.

Expressions Similar to AFAIK

Internet acronyms that are used in the same way include:

  • IMHO (In My Humble Opinion)
  • YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary)
  • IIRC (If I Recall Correctly)

How to Capitalize and Punctuate Web and Texting Abbreviations

Capitalization is not a concern when using text message abbreviations and chat jargon. You can use all uppercase letters, such as ROFL, or all lowercase letters, such as rofl, and the meaning is identical. In this case, Rolling on the Floor Laughing.

Don't type entire sentences in uppercase, though, because that is interpreted as shouting in online speak.

Proper punctuation is similarly not a concern with most text message abbreviations. For example, the acronym for "Too Long, Didn't Read" can be abbreviated as TL;DR or as TLDR. Both are acceptable formats, with or without punctuation.

Never use periods (dots) between jargon letters. It defeats the purpose of speeding up thumb typing. For example, ROFL should not be entered as R.O.F.L., and TTYL isn't typed T.T.Y.L.

Recommended Etiquette for Using Web Jargon 

Knowing when to use jargon in your messaging is all about knowing who your audience is, knowing if the context is informal or professional, and then using good judgment. If you know the recipients well, and it is a personal and informal communication, then use abbreviation jargon. On the flip side, if you are just starting a friendship or professional relationship with the other person, then it is a good idea to avoid abbreviations until you develop a relationship rapport.

If the messaging is in a professional context with someone at work or with a customer or vendor outside your company, then avoid abbreviations altogether. Using full spellings shows professionalism and courtesy. It is much easier to err on the side of being too professional and then relax your communications over time than to do the inverse.