WTM – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you received a text message or a Snapchat message containing the abbreviation "WTM"? This particular text slang can pose a challenge, as it has at least three distinct meanings.

This post will help you make sense of the message you got from the context, and examine its origins.


The internet slang WTM, which is now most commonly used in text messages, has three different meanings:

  • WTM is most frequently used to stand for "what's the move?", which means "what's the plan?" or "what are we going to do?".
  • WTM can also be short for "what's the matter?" — and in this context, it can indicate genuine concern or, instead, mockery.
  • Finally, the acronym WTM can be used to represent "whatever that means". This shows that the person sending it did not understand the previous message or doesn't want to.

Example Usage

Because WTM can have three very different meanings, the risk of misinterpreting any text that contains these three letters is very real. Let's take a look at some examples:

  • Yo, I'm down for dinner later if you guys are still up for it. WTM? (In this case, WTM means "what's the move?".)
  • You've been looking super depressed all day sis, I'm getting worried. Please tell me WTM? (The context indicates that WTM means "what's the matter?" in this message.)
  • In response to a message like "you obviously don't wanna be friends with me anymore so you're not invited to my birthday party", a completely puzzled but angry friend might reply WTM, meaning "whatever that means".


Despite its rather unhelpful ambiguity, the internet acronym WTM has been in use for a very long time already — since the 1990s, when WTM could frequently be spotted on the then popular forum platform Usenet.

The text slang WTM has only started becoming widespread since around 2017, when an increasing number of people also began uploading the abbreviation, with the definition "what's the move?" to Urban Dictionary. The full phrase "what's the move?" appears to have risen in popularity at around the same time.

Those using this meaning are goal-oriented. Two friends, or a friend group, are deciding what they are going to do later.

The meaning "what's the matter?" is, in contrast, popular on Snapchat, where it is most likely to be used by girls and women who are worried about a friend.

Phrases Similar to WTM

  • Rather than using WTM to mean "what's the matter?", you could say "Are you OK?" or "R U OK?".
  • Instead of WTM (meaning "what's the move?"), you could also say "what's the plan?", or "wanna [insert thing you would like to do] later?"
  • When WTM is used to say "whatever that means", the tone is rather passive aggressive. An alternative option would be to simply send a question mark ("?") or even multiple.

What Is the Correct Abbreviation?

The correct abbreviation is "WTM". The meaning is, however, less clear. Tread carefully.

Ways People May Say WTM Incorrectly

The three letters WTM have long been in use as a text abbreviation. In addition to the three most common meanings ("what's the move?", "what's the matter?", and "whatever that means"), there are numerous others, including "what the muffin?".

The potential for misunderstandings is so great that it is generally unwise to use the abbreviation at all unless you are doing so with people you know well and who will correctly interpret your use of WTM.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase WTM

You can use WTM to in a text message or a messaging app to have any of the three most widespread meanings, as well as some less frequently-used meanings. It is best to do so only if you are sure that your recipient(s) will understand what you mean.

Context can go a long way. If you add "I'm worried about you" to "WTM", for instance, it is more likely to be clear that you meant "what's the matter?". By the same token, if you say something like "I'm done with my homework", the WTM that follows will be understood to mean "what's the move?".

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