What Does the Phrase "WBU" Mean?

Do you agree?

WBU and HBU can be and are used interchangeably in chats, text messages, and forums. They usually follow a response or opinion and require a response from the person to which they are directed. But what exactly does WBU (and HBU) stand for?  

WBU Stands for:

What About You?

HBY Stands for:

How About You?

How WBU Is Used

Illustration of a smartphone with "I'm hungry, WBU" on it
Lifewire / Maritsa Patrinos 

WBU or HBU are used the same way people use the phrases in spoken conversations. This is an acronym for asking, "How about you, do you agree?" or "What about you, do you have a suggestion?"

It can be used to learn more about someone. People often share something about themselves on social media and then pose the question, hoping to learn something similar about the hobbies or personality of the person with whom they are conversing.

People use it to ask for ideas or input. Also, it is often used in small talk to keep a conversation going politely.

Examples of WBU in Use

Example 1

Friend 1: I'm hungry for some Vietnamese food. WBU?

Friend 2: SGTM! 6 p.m. at the Pho House? 

In this example, the first friend uses WBU to ask if the second friend would like to meet up for food.

Example 2

Friend 1: do u really wanna go to Karen's apartment party 2night?

Friend 2: sure, it'll be fun. wbu? don't you want to go?

In this example, the second friend uses WBU to clarify whether or not the first friend wants to go to a party.

Example 3

Friend 1: Pung, let's not meet with Colin on this tonight. I need to think about this first.

Friend 2: OK, that's probably best you cool off before we bring this up. I can do Friday, WBU?

Friend 1: Friday after lunch is good. I'll write down my thoughts tonight, so I do a good job explaining the issues to him.

In this example, the second friend uses WBU to find out if Friday is a good time for the first friend to meet up.

Examples of HBU in Use

Example 1

Friend 1: omg, I'm so hungry. 

Friend 2: Mhm! I could go for a plate of sushi right now, HBU?

Friend 1: sushi sounds good! Meet me in front of the library in 10 minutes! 

In this example, the second friend uses HBU to ask if the first friend would like to have some sushi.

Example 2

Friend 1: I love to hike, swim, and dabble in watercolor painting. HBU?

Friend 2: Love to swim. Big fan of roller derby, too.

In this example, the first friend is sharing personal details and uses HBU to show interest in the second friend's hobbies.

The WBU and HBU expressions, like many other online expressions and web lingo, are part of online conversation culture and build cultural identity through language and playful conversation.

About 90% of the time, type these expressions in all lowercase letters. On occasion, you can use them in all capitals to express enthusiasm. Just remember not to type entire sentences in all caps, lest you be considered rude.

Other Common Web Expressions

As you browse social media sites or read messages from friends, you might encounter other expressions that are not clear at first glance. For instance, a lengthy post on Reddit might include a separate, smaller paragraph with the heading "TLDR." While this acronym can be helpful when you're short on time or attention, others are a bit more harsh, such as RTFM when someone asks a question with a seemingly obvious answer, or EPEEN to mock someone who seems a bit egotistical.

Learning these common expressions can help you navigate the net without looking like a Noob.