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Messaging Tips: What Does <3 Mean in Text?

The latest polls are in — messaging is the number one way to communicate in the 21st century. Recent research shows that Americans spend 21 minutes every day sending texts, while over 68% of them prefer texting to making phone calls.

Unsurprisingly, the popularity of texting has led to the development of some pretty interesting slang words and symbols. But what does <3 mean in text?

Don’t worry, this article’s here to break down the history of internet slang and dive into the meaning of <3. Also, here are a few tips on how to use it in combination with other text symbols.

A Brief History of Internet Slang

Internet Slang

The younger generation today are bonafide experts when it comes to slang. Their vocabulary is filled with new and strange internet words that they seemingly came up with at random.

While to them all these words make perfect sense, the vocabulary baffles their parents. In fact, if you’re older, trying to decode your teen’s texts can sometimes feel like trying to decipher alien squiggles.

But believe it or not, there is a method to the madness. Far from being a nonsensical string of words, internet slang is a complex type of embedded language that rose to prominence as the internet grew in scope.

Being constantly connected via virtual cyberspace meant that users needed to find a way to get their point across in as short a time as possible. That is why it became so popular to abbreviate common words and use symbols when typing out messages.

While many older people condemn youngsters for butchering language with these made-up words, their assessment is entirely unfair. A cursory glance at internet slang reveals a vast vocabulary of words.

These symbols not only have complex meanings, but they also serve as a simple, yet creative way for people to express themselves in a limited number of characters. So rather than beggaring a language, internet slang has actually made it richer!

What Does <3 Mean in a Text?


After the brief history lesson on internet slang, we get to the star of the show—the <3 symbol. Out of all the symbols, abbreviations, and acronyms that you need to text properly, the <3 is among the top 10. It’s basically the symbol for love.

If you tilt your head 90° to the right you see that the symbol actually forms a heart shape. Most people typically write it at the end of a message, to tell their recipient that they love them, without having to spell the actual words. So if you receive a message with a <3 symbol in it, congratulations! Somebody loves you!

However, the true beauty of this symbol is in all the contexts you can use it. For example, you can use <3 to express both platonic love for your friends and romantic love for your spouses or partners. You can also use it to flirt, letting your potential love interest know that you want to be more than just friends.

Lastly, you can use <3 in combination with other symbols and acronyms to create a short, punchy message that’s still loaded with meaning. Some of the best <3 combinations include:

• I<3Y — I love you.
• I <3 U — I love you, but with “you” abbreviated to U.
• <333 — This represents several hearts and by extension several ‘I love you’s.’
• xx <3 — xx stands for two kisses, with the heart standing in for an ‘I love you.’
• xoxo <3 — Once again, the x’s stand for kisses, while the o’s symbolize hugs. The <3 in the end is like a cherry on top, completing this touching declaration.

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