TFW Meaning: What Does TFW Mean?

What does TFW mean? Looking for the definition and the usage of this text abbreviation? On this page, you’ll find useful information about this trendy slang word with ESL pictures and useful conversation examples.

TFW Meaning

What Does TFW Mean?

“TFW” stands for “that feel when.”

We can use it in a lot of situations. It usually comes at the beginning of a social media post or sentence to describe how someone feels at the moment. Although it is not clear where the origin of this phrase comes from, some trace it back to the, “I know that feel bro” meme. The correct form of this phrase should be, “that feeling when.” However, like with other internet slang expressions, a lot of grammar rules are not followed.

This phrase can be used in email, texting, and messaging. The most common place to find it would be on social media posts, especially memes. By using “TFW” in combination with various images and gifs, users can express their current mood or make a post to entertain their friends/social media followers.

Origin of TFW

Meme Culture

The origins of TFW can be traced back to meme culture in the early 2010s. During this time, the term “Feels” became popular to describe emotions, particularly sadness. Alongside this, the “I Know That Feel Bro” meme emerged, featuring simply drawn characters hugging each other in empathy. TFW, an abbreviation for “that feel when,” “that feeling when,” or “that face when,” evolved from the earlier “I Know That Feel Bro” meme, and began to be used to express a wide range of emotions.

Internet Forums

TFW’s widespread use can be attributed to its adoption in various internet forums, particularly the 4chan Japanese messageboards in 2010. The following year, users started pairing the phrase with the image of the “That Feel Guy” meme, which depicted loneliness and sadness about the lack of a relationship in a humorous way. As TFW continued to gain popularity, it became a regular part of internet slang and is now commonly seen in social media posts, comments, and text messages.

Popular Variations of TFW

In our exploration of the TFW phenomenon, we’ve come across some popular variations that you may have encountered on social media. Below, we’ll delve into two specific sub-variations that have an interesting presence online.


“TFW No GF” is a common variation of TFW that stands for “That Feel When No Girlfriend.” This phrase is often used by people, predominantly on social platforms, to express their loneliness or longing for a romantic partner. A typical usage might look like this:

TFW No GF and it’s Valentine’s Day

This variation is usually accompanied by a relatable image, meme, or GIF that conveys the feelings associated with being single, such as sadness or frustration.

TFW Too Intelligent

Another interesting variation is “TFW Too Intelligent.” This phrase is used to express the feeling of being intellectually superior or misunderstood due to one’s intelligence. It might be used humorously or sarcastically to poke fun at someone’s self-perceived intellectual prowess. For example:

TFW Too Intelligent for small talk at parties

Again, this expression is often paired with a fitting visual such as a meme or an image of a person looking bored or exasperated in a social setting, emphasizing the idea of feeling out of place in certain situations due to one’s intelligence.

In conclusion, these popular variations of TFW showcase the versatile nature of this internet slang, and how it can be adapted to express various emotions and situations. It’s fascinating to see how such a simple acronym can evolve into a diverse range of expressions, providing users with a creative way to share their feelings with others.

TFW Examples in Conversations

Here are some examples:

Example 1:

  • Social media post: TFW you’re on the way to the airport, you think you forgot your passport, and then you find it.

In this post, we can see that the “feel,” or feeling, the user is trying to express is one of relief. This person originally thought they didn’t have their passport and is causes a panic. After finding it, the person should become relieved.

Example 2:

  • Texter 1: Hey, how are you doing? Feeling better?
  • Texter 2: Not really.
  • Texter 1: Wow, that bad huh?
  • Texter 2: Like TFW it hurts so bad you can’t feel it anymore.

In this text conversation, we can see that texter 1 is checking up on texter 2 to see how she’s doing. Texter 2 says she’s not doing so well. In this case, she uses “TFW” to show that she is in a great deal of pain.

Other Meanings

  • Tactical Fighter Wing
  • Temporary Foreign Worker
  • Team Free Will
  • Training for Warriors
  • Total Farm Wastes
  • That Face When
  • Thanks For Watching
  • Thanks for Writing
  • Tuition Fee Waiver
  • The Force Within
  • Travel for Work
  • Task-Force Web
  • Toxic Flood Water

TFW Meaning Infographic


Frequently Asked Questions

What does TFW stand for in texting?

TFW stands for “That Feel When” in texting and online conversations. It is a commonly used acronym to express a specific emotion or experience that is relatable to many people.

How is TFW commonly used on social media?

On social media, TFW is used to share relatable situations or feelings regarding an event, occurrence, or even a meme. It is often followed by a description of the situation or accompanied by an image, gif, or video that helps to illustrate the feeling or emotion being conveyed. For example, “TFW you wake up and realize it’s the weekend” could be paired with a picture of someone looking extremely happy or relieved.

What’s the difference between TFW and MFW?

MFW, or “My Face When,” is another acronym that was initially used more prevalently in online conversations and memes. It specifically referred to the facial expression of someone reacting to a situation. Over time, MFW posts fell out of favor, and TFW gained popularity. Both acronyms may sometimes be used interchangeably, but TFW has become more widely used and encompasses not just facial expressions but emotions and feelings as well.

Can TFW be used both positively and negatively?

Yes, TFW can be used to express both positive and negative emotions. It is a versatile acronym that can be adapted to various situations by adjusting the context of the accompanying text or image. For example, “TFW you get a promotion at work” would be a positive usage, while “TFW you spill coffee on your laptop” would convey a negative emotion.

What is the origin of the TFW meme?

The TFW meme originated in the early 2010s from the popularization of the term “Feels” to describe an emotion. This coincided with the growth of the original Wojak meme, once known as the “I Know That Feel Bro” guy. Wojak was often used in posts expressing emotions or situations, and with time, TFW became a popular and relatable way to convey shared feelings or experiences.

Are there any popular TFW variations?

There are a few variations of TFW that might be encountered, but they generally have the same meaning. Some other ways to express the same idea include “That feeling when,” “That face when,” and “That moment when.” These variations can be used interchangeably, depending on the situation and the specific emotion being portrayed or described.

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