Melanie is a tech YouTuber who loves social media and is an expert on internet culture. She also runs a YouTube channel: The Curious Coder.
What Does FTW Mean?
Short answer: FTW can mean either "For the win" or "Fuck the world"
FTW has several meanings in the online world, so the chances are that you've seen this term floating around somewhere on the Internet. So what does it mean? FTW is an acronym that means "for the win." This definition may seem obscure. I mean, what does "for the win" really mean? Well, think about it. If you're in an online game and you capture the flag, you did it for the win or so that you could win. If you're working really hard on a paper for school, you probably want to get a good grade on it, so you're working extra hard on it FTW!
The phrase is often said in victory, but you can also say it while you're very near to victory, or even just working toward your goal. In other words, it's something of a modern-day rallying cry! Another phrase that has a similar meaning is "game, set, match!"
Meaning of LMAO, FML, and others!
FTW has a few alternative meanings. Keep in mind that while other definitions exist, "for the win" is typically the most common.
If you use FTW when you mean to say something different, the person you are talking to might be confused. This is why you'll want to make sure that the person you're talking to knows what you're talking about.
Here are alternative meanings for the acronym.
- Fuck the world. This one was a prevalent meaning, especially among bikers in the 70s and 80s. At this time, "for the win" didn't even exist yet. However, due to the popularity of online games, "fuck the world" has dwindled in use. One should use caution when using the term to older people who are unaware of the new connotation.
- Free the whales.
- Face the wall.
- For those wondering.
- For the wine.
The Origin of FTW
Believe it or not, FTW has its origins in the television show Hollywood Squares. From its first usage on the game show, the term then spread to an online game called Defense of the Ancients (known more commonly as DotA.) This game is a spinoff of Blizzard's popular Warcraft III series.
From DotA, this word spread to other online games such as World of Warcraft. The term is highly popular and heavily used in the online gaming community. However, it can also be seen on many websites and social networks such as Reddit, which are frequented by gamers.
© 2011 Melanie Palen
Lucy on April 13, 2020:
I think it should be "for the winner"
Shane on February 08, 2020:
And why does anyone fu** the world life is not fair but it’s not earths fault
Dodi on January 29, 2020:
If you’re from Texas, it is short for Ft Worth. As is Ft Worth Texas Right next to Dallas and it has a lot of nightlife. Remember Urban Cowboy? Ft worth is still the cowboy capital of the world. But I’d go with “F* the World “ if I was gonna vote. It has more of a punch than “I don’t care what you think” !
Angered on December 26, 2019:
I’ve literally never heard it used as to mean “for the win”, I am a very hardcore gamer as well, I have spent countless hours grinding in more than a few mmorpgs and played many rounds of survival games in the golden age of Minecraft, along with spending most of my childhood playing in the early days of COD. I’ve literally played more games than anyone I have met and have never heard this phrase used this way.
Kitty Meow on June 17, 2019:
I'm one of the many old folks with a FTW tattoo. I think since this acronym has such a deep meaning for so many people, it should be left alone. There's so many ways for kids to come up with new things, why take this? Come up with something original.
(And idk who came up with the lame 'forever two wheels' but nobody uses that.)
DB merch ( limited edition ) on May 03, 2019:
Ayo, so FTW is for me FUNNY TO WINTER
Rick on May 22, 2018:
FTW started as "Fuck The World" by Vietnam vets. "The World" was home or live outside the war. Some vets did not acclimate back Into society and lived their own way, many as bikers.
Jack on February 02, 2018:
For Bikers it means Fuck the World, the guy that says forever two wheels is not there, I have it on my arm and I know what it means. For anyone else it means nothing. It means we are going to live our freedom and ride, which is one of the best freedoms you could ever feel and fuck all ya all. We do not feel anything bad to ya'll but we will ride free no matter what you think. FTW
Bruh on December 04, 2017:
I’d preffer the second one, f the world
huh on October 31, 2012:
the original meanings for bikers was and still is...
forever on two wheels,
feel the wind and f*** the world
J Forlanda from US of A on July 17, 2012:
10,000 years from now anthropologists will find data in computer storage devices and will have a heck of a time deciphering all these. With so many meaning to only three letters, they will be totally confused. There's a major difference between interpreting FTW as "for the win" and "f**k this world". Hopefully they pick the right one. LOL.
Jeff Gamble from Denton, Texas on July 17, 2012:
Thanks for the chuckle this morning Mel. I'll take Paul Lynde FTW... to free the whales that is.
Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on June 22, 2012:
Aha--I've also seen it used as a 'reversal' of WTF.. using the same "naughty word." Instead of "What The F**," it's turned around to "F** The What???" Doesn't make a lot of sense, but I think that developed as a way to try to "sneak" the more commonly known WTF past the noses of parents & teachers.
RALPH VITALE on April 24, 2012:
I LEARNED THE MEANING OF A LOT OF ACRONYMS READING THIS DOCUMENT..VERY ENLIGHTENING
Melanie Palen (author) from Midwest, USA on November 12, 2011:
It's a happy face like :) except it's got a tongue sticking out. :P
fishcrow on November 12, 2011:
what does the acronym :p mean?
bandana on October 20, 2011:
FOR THE WINE
qweqweqw on July 20, 2011:
FOR THE WIN
Monique on July 16, 2011:
For Those Wondering
Brittany Rowland from Woodstock, GA on April 10, 2011:
My younger sister taught me this expression. She was taking notes in AP US history class, studying one of the world wars, and wrote "USA FTW" really big in her notebook...and the teacher saw it and gave her an odd look. Haha, good hub!
Dovay Lee from China on March 28, 2011:
Haha,I am wrong after reading your hub,Ithought it was short for free trade wharf. Thanks for the info and I leart a lot from it.
Astra-chan from NL on March 17, 2011:
You're right: I'm really sure that it means For The Win^^ Especially with an exclamation mark behind.
Hello, hello, from London, UK on February 09, 2011:
Thank you for a great hub and brining up to date, seriously. I am glad it changed into something more nicer meaning.
sweetie1 from India on February 09, 2011:
What can i say accept that you reserched this word quite well and described it too very nicely. Before i read this i never knew there is FTW,