The Meaning Of SMH

The use of online acronyms — words like LOL and AMA — is not limited to teenagers who cannot be bothered to spell out whole words. In fact, everyone who has ever been online had probably been in a situation to use those acronyms or see them used. And while some acronyms are ubiquitous and easily translatable, like LOL is, the ones that are lesser-known can be problematic. So, if someone answered your comment about Episode II being the most underrated of the Star Wars movies with a short "SMH," it is only natural that you are left wondering what does SMH mean. 

SMH — Meaning and Variations
SMH is an acronym of the phrase "shaking my head." You use it when you want to react to something that left you lost for words, and the only thing you can think of doing is shaking your head. Often enough you can use it to react to something you find stupid. However, you can also use the acronym to convey feelings of disappointment, stupefy, or disbelief. 

SMH can have other meanings besides "shaking my head." You can also use it to abbreviate the phrase "so much hate." If you want to use SMH with this meaning, you should do it in a different context than you would "shaking my head." For example, SMH as "so much hate" is an appropriate response to a hurtful or uneducated remark. Keep in mind, though, that in most cases SMH will have the meaning of "shaking my head" and not "so much hate." Many people will only be familiar with the former, and not the latter.

You can also find SMH as an abbreviation outside of the Internet slang. Do a Google search for SMH. You will find featured top stories from a newspaper called The Sydney Morning Herald. That is an Australian daily newspaper, and it uses SMH as an acronym. SMH is even present in the paper's website address. 

Other Online Acronyms You Might Find Useful
SMH is one of the many lesser-known online slang abbreviations. Slang abbreviations have been around for decades, even before the Internet or texting, the two channels where they are used the most these days. However, the instantaneous nature of digital communications, as well as the natural tendency to use language in the most efficient manner, caused these types of words to explode near the end of the 20th century. Some of the earliest online slang acronyms include: 

  • F2F — "Face-to-face," for something that is done in the presence of other people, as opposed to being mediated by digital technologies;
  • WADR — "With all due respect," a polite thing to say before disagreeing with someone;
  • YA — "Yet another," which means exactly what it means.

Some online slang acronyms are more suited for special kinds of situations than others are. Here are some you can use when texting or messaging while at work:

  • BIB — "Boss is back," given as a reason why you have to leave the conversation;
  • BYOD — "Bring your own device," an acronym used for the practice of encouraging employees to bring their own devices to work;
  • OGIM — "Oh God, it's Monday," which is a way of expressing the dread at the beginning of a new work week. 

The use of acronyms is also very popular among the younger generations:

  • MOS — "Mother over shoulder," when you can't speak freely because of the presence of a parent; 
  • PLZTLME — "Please tell me," when you are asking someone to tell you something;
  • RYS — "Are you single?" when inquiring about someone's dating status. 

There are loads of other online slang acronyms you will see in texts, instant messages, tweets, and comments. If you are not sure what they mean, you should do the same thing you did when you wondered what SMH meant — do some research. If the acronym has more meanings that one, rely on the context to help you choose the correct meaning. If that does not work, you can stay simply reply with a "?" for clarifications.