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Home / Tips and Tricks / What does "FWIW" mean and how do you use it?

What does "FWIW" mean and how do you use it?



  A few friends who speak with the word FWIW have fallen over them.
fizkes / Shutterstock

While FWIW is not the most popular slang on the Internet, it routinely finds its way into Twitter posts, news boards, and chat rooms. But what does FWIW mean, where does it come from and how does one use it?

For what it's worth

FWIW means "for what it's worth". It is a phrase that rarely has any literal meaning, and is used to politely express that someone should consider an opinion, an idea, or a fact (usually because their opinion is flawed).

If it helps, imagine FWIW means, "You can ignore what I'm going to say, but I think you should hear it anyway. "The sentence does not really change the overall meaning of your sentence, but only adds a polite tone to what you say.

So instead of telling a friend, "You do not have a thing to say, 4K TVs have four times the pixel resolution of HD TVs," you could simply say, "FWIW, 4K TVs have four times the pixel resolution HD TVs ". Interestingly, FWIW can also be used to add a snarky, empathetic or even repellent tone to your sentence. These sounds usually come from the context, but usually any use of "FWIW" that can be replaced with "FYI" has a snarky sound. ("FWIW, toothpaste kills bad breath germs.")

It is worth noting that FWIW is usually (but not always) used at the beginning of a sentence. This is called a prepositional phrase and is used to tell readers that you are about to politely contradict (or confirm) another's opinion.

FWIW has been around for ages

has existed since at least 1

800. The term has its origins in the economy and was originally used to express the literal value of products, goods or people. A 17th-century farmer may promise to buy only one horse "for what it's worth" while a tax collector tries to "rob you of everything you value" our modern meaning. You can see this overlap in stories like The Merchant Service (1844) where one character tells the other, "Your opinion is important – nothing." (The characters in this piece are dealers, and the author uses "what it's worth

  A screenshot of the interest of Google Trends on the FWIW site.
According to Google Trends, interest in the FWIW has been steadily increasing since 2004. Google Trends

"economic" subtext is Well, "for what it pays" is just a blank phrase, it does not really add much meaning to a sentence, it just makes you sound polite when you correct someone, so if you know that, it's not surprising Nobody wants to type "for what it's worth" just out of courtesy, there's evidence that the FWIW was popular on the Usenet at the end of the 1980s, or at least in July In 1989, on a "comprehensive" internet slag and emoticon list, Google Trends landed, even though initialisms like "NSFW" or "TFW" had never been so popular.

How is FWIW used?

Again, FWIW is usually used at the beginning of a sentence. This indicates to readers that you are in the process of politely disagreeing (or agreeing) with another's opinion by expressing your own opinion or fact.

If your friend says he hates Steven Spielberg's films, you might say "FWIW, I loved ET" or "FWIW, his films are really popular. "You do not really confront your friend or say he's wrong, but you still blow your mind. He may even agree with you just because you were so polite.

  A man wonders when to say FWIW.
fizkes / Shutterstock

Of course FWIW feels a bit stiff at the beginning of a sentence. If you want to relax things a bit, you can say, "I have not seen many of his films, but FWIW, I loved ET." repellent tone. This is usually based on the context that you need to find out for yourself. However, if you want a shortcut, use FWIW in the same location you may be using "FYI".

In this sense, you could tell your friend, who hates Spielberg, that you like "FWIW, only artistically-fancy French movies so your opinion does not matter. "That should silence him.

(As a side note, the FWIW is great for confirming a message without really talking to you.) Most of the FWIW examples listed here are incredibly lifeless, but they are not rude.)


It's hard to surf the internet without understanding a bit of slang. FWIW, words like NSFW and YEET, are not likely to improve your life much, but they will help you travel the Internet without becoming confused.


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