GTFO is one of the oldest insults on the internet and is being thrown around to this day. Here’s what this aggressive initialism means and where to use it properly.
Get the F*** out
GTFO means ‘coming out’. It is an insult to someone you find annoying, stupid or actively trolling. You can also use it to describe something or someone that is totally unwelcome in a space, such as spam or graphical content.
As with other acronyms, GTFO is acceptable in both upper and lower case. However, depending on the context, “gtfo” is more relaxed, while “GTFO” can seem more excited. This term is closely related to STFU or “shut the f*** up”. In some scenarios, you can use these two terms interchangeably.
The origin of GTFO
The actual expression, “get the f*** out” has been around for a long time in America, with many appearances in movies and books throughout the late 20th century. However, the acronym version emerged around the same time as other internet slang terms – in the 1990s and early 2000s, when internet relay chat became popular.
It then made its way to early internet forums like 4Chan, before moving onto modern social media sites like Reddit and Twitter. The earliest definition of GTFO on Urban Dictionary was written in December 2002 and reads: “Insulting: Get the F*** Out,” exemplified “GTFO & STFU, noob.”
This definition gives us some insight into an environment where these internet insults were very common: gaming. MMORPGs like Everquest and World of Warcraft started gaining popularity in the 2000s, inevitably leading to millions of people openly throwing these terms at each other while playing.
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Internet “Spaces” and GTFO
Since GTFO “take out”, what exactly does “out” mean? The acronym ties in with the idea of internet ‘spaces’, which are places on the internet where people interact with each other. These spaces could be a Reddit comment section, a Twitter thread, or even an entire website. Since GTFO can sound very harsh, this acronym is more common in areas where the accounts are mostly anonymous, such as Reddit or stan Twitter.
For the most part, the acronym should not be taken literally. People usually use it to express strong disagreement or resentment over someone else’s words. However, if these users are in Internet spaces, saying GTFO might imply that they want the other person to leave the thread or website.
That’s why you often see a “GTFO” message that causes a stack, which is a horde of people rushing to express their anger or disappointment at someone. You’ll also see it as a response to people who aren’t contributing to a conversation, such as spammers or trolls.
go away quick
Do not worry. GTFO isn’t always for petty internet arguments. When used in face-to-face conversations, GTFO usually means you or someone else needs to get out of somewhere as soon as possible.
For example, if you hate your job, you can message your friend, “I’m so sick of my job, I need to gtfo.” This means that you are frustrated with your career and want to leave as soon as possible. If you’re trying to rush your friend, say “Hey, gtfo” ASAP. This means telling them to get out of their house as soon as possible.
Alternatively, GTFO can also be used to tell someone that you don’t believe in what they say. People have been saying “get out of here” for a long time to describe something shocking or crazy, and this definition carries over into the acronym form. For example, if someone tells you they just got promoted, you can send them a message: “Wow! GTFO, that’s great!” While this message may seem unpleasant at first glance, this message is a positive response to good news.
If you want to use GTFO in your posts or messages, just send a message with “GTFO”, and they will understand what you are saying almost immediately. Do not always use this acronym as you risk coming across as rude or hostile.
Here are a few ways to use GTFO;
- “I told you to GTFO.”
- “GTF. We don’t want spammers here.”
- “I had gtfo there as soon as possible.”
- “Dude! Gtfo, that’s crazy.”
Would you like to know more about other internet language terms? Check out our pieces on BRB, AFK and NSFW and you’ll have a complete online vocabulary in no time.
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