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What does “AFAIK” mean and how do you use it?

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If you often surf online forums and social media sites, it is likely that you have seen the term “AFAIK” at least once. We explain what it means and how to use it correctly.

“As far as I know”

AFAIK means “as far as I know.”

; This means that the knowledge you share is something you think is correct, but you are not sure if it is completely correct or up to date. The whole phrase is commonly used in both online interactions and personal conversations. It has a similar meaning to the phrase “as far as I know”.

When used on the internet, for example in text messages or on social media, AFAIK has the same meaning. You can use it in uppercase (AFAIK) and lowercase (afaik). It is often seen on bulletin boards and microblogging service sites, such as Twitter and Reddit.

AFAIK can also be used interchangeably with initialism IIRC, which means “if I remember correctly” or “if I remember correctly.” Both are commonly used to explain that the author or speaker is saying something that is likely to be correct, but which they are not entirely sure of.

This initialism should not be confused with AFK, which means “away from the keyboard.”

RELATED: What does IIRC mean and how do you use it?

AFAIK’s history

The term “as far as I know” has been used for a very long time, but its internet initialism has a much more recent history.

Like most internet initialisms, acronyms and slang words, AFAIK can be traced back to early IRC chat rooms around the 1990s and early 2000s. Because computers had limited screen space and the only method of communication was text, early users shortened many rather long phrases, such as “as far as I know.” Abbreviation is allowed for faster conversations and less typing.

Initializations such as AFAIK continued to thrive on platforms such as instant messaging and SMS, which often had signs of number of characters and encouraged shorter texts. Later, they would find a home on social media sites like Twitter, which also has a character limit.

Disclaimer on the Internet

AFAIK is often used as a soft “disclaimer” online. While it is not intended to completely discredit your message, it does encourage others to take it with a grain of salt. Initialism is often associated with phrases such as “but do not take my word for it” or “but do not quote me about it.”

Often a post with “afaik” is correct, but the user adds it to appear more modest and non-confrontational. This is common in online bulletin boards. For example, if the original poster asks a question about the regular cost of a particular item, someone might answer: “AFAIK, it costs $ 250” even though they are sure it costs $ 250.

Other times, AFAIK is used to qualify potential variations between people’s experiences. For example, if someone asks “what is the quietest area in the city?”, Can someone answer with an “AFAIK” before sharing the quietest area in their experience. This is a usage that overlaps Internet initialism YMMV, or “your mileage may vary.”

AFAIK in personal conversations

A man texting on a smartphone.
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AFAIK can also be used to describe things that happen in your daily life. When used in a real context, it usually represents something that you think is true now but may change in the future.

For example, if someone asks you if you work this weekend, you can answer: “AFAIK, I’m not.” What this tells the other person is that you are currently off for the weekend, but that may change if you suddenly have something urgent to take care of.

How to use AFAIK

“As far as I know” is a relatively common conversational phrase, so it should be easy to pick up how to use and interpret it. As mentioned above, you can use it to follow a knowledge you share or describe something that varies person-to-person.

Here are some ways to use AFAIK:

  • AFAIK, the school will resume lessons during the autumn.
  • AFAIK Lebron James was born in Ohio.
  • This store has a fairly generous refund policy AFAIK.
  • We spend Thanksgiving at my sister’s home, AFAIK.

To learn more about other Internet terms, read IRL and SMH. You become an expert on internet initialism in no time.

RELATED: What does “TFW” mean and how do you use it?

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