Are you speaking to someone on the internet and want to find out more about the person on the other side of the screen, like their age or location? You could use the text abbreviation ‘asl’ to save some typing time and let them know what you mean. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.
The term ‘asl’ is a text-based abbreviation that is usually used to ask someone for their age/sex/location. There are several different ways to write it which are all considered valid use of the term, including the variations ‘A/S/L’ or ‘ASL’.
This form of internet shorthand is most common on message boards, forums, social media, and private messaging apps.
It is seen anywhere on the internet where people are introduced for the first time.
The abbreviation used to be very popular, although has faded in popularity due to most of the asked-for information being listed on social media profiles already. With no need to ask anymore, the expression does not see as much modern use.
The expression has also developed negative connotations, as it was common for older internet users to ask this question of younger ones. Baiting scammers have used ‘asl’ as a way to gain conversational rapport with their victims.
Asl is used as an acronym that asks a question, and therefore has no plural form.
The term ‘asl’ can also alternatively mean “as hell” or be used as an acronym to denote American Sign Language. Context should make it apparent if this is the case.
“I’ll never go to random webcam sites again. You think you’re going to go there to meet someone cool, and then you just see a bunch of old guys who are all like ‘hi, asl pls.’”
“I thought that nothing on the internet could be weird anymore, but then I got to know old message boards where dudes ask everyone nothing else except ‘what’s ur asl?’”
“If you want to know someone’s asl these days, you don’t have to ask and all you have to do is check their profiles to find out.”
“Asl used to be a great way to get to know people, but these days you will only see someone use the term asl if they’re trying to creep someone out on the internet.”
The term ‘asl’ can attribute its origin to somewhere in the early 2000s, most likely going all the way back to the start of BBS. In this way, it can be considered one of the earliest internet acronyms, together with ones like ‘lol’ that most people will recognize when they see it.
At a time when most people did not post their information on their profiles, asking someone for their asl was a quick way to get to know other users.
The early use of ‘asl’ would see increased use on “random” chatroom or webcam websites like Omegle and Chatroulette. In more recent years, the term ‘asl’ holds a negative connotation due to its use by internet predators and online creeps.
Phrases Similar to asl
Phrases Opposite to asl
What is the Correct Saying?
Ways People May Say asl Incorrectly
There are several ways to use the text-based abbreviation ‘asl’ in the incorrect way. Common use of the term ‘asl’ when used in context is to ask for a user’s personal information, though incorrect use would be to assume that it means something else.
The term ‘asl’ usually does not stand for, for example, “American Sign Language” in the context of most conversations or message board posts, even though this is one of the official dictionary definitions of the word.
Acceptable Ways to Phrase asl
The right way to use the term ‘asl’ is to employ it to ask for someone’s age, sex or location.
It can be used as an acronym in a sentence, but also just used as an abbreviated, direct question.