What Does OTOH Mean?

You see this acronym all the time, but what does it mean?

Two hands holding different marbles - representing on the other hand


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"OTOH" is the slang acronym used online for "On the Other Hand." It is used when a person wants to list items on both sides of an argument.

"OTOH" is often spelled all uppercase, but can be also spelled "otoh." All versions mean the same thing. Just be careful not to type entire sentences in uppercase, as that is considered rude—tantamount to shouting.

Example of OTOH

The following hypothetical dialog or conversation illustrates common usage of OTOH.

"I think you should buy that new i7 computer. Your current machine sucks."
"My wife would kill me if I spent 2 grand on a new computer."
"OTOH, she might like a faster machine in the house, if I can get her that interior design software to go with it."

How to Capitalize and Punctuate Web and Texting Abbreviations

Capitalization is not a concern when using text message abbreviations and chat jargon. You are welcome to use all uppercase (e.g. ROFL) or all lowercase (e.g. rofl); the meaning is identical. Avoid typing entire sentences in uppercase, though, as that means shouting in online speak.

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

Never use periods (dots) between your jargon letters. It would defeat the purpose of speeding up thumb typing. For example, ROFL would never be spelled R.O.F.L., and TTYL would never be spelled T.T.Y.L. 

Recommended Etiquette for Using Web and Texting Jargon 

Knowing when to use jargon in your messaging is about knowing who your audience is, knowing if the context is informal or professional, and then using good judgment. If you know the people well, and it is a personal and informal communication, then absolutely 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 have developed 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 word 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 doing the inverse.