AskDefine | Define leet

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /liːt/
    Rhymes with: -iːt

Etymology 1

Compare hlt.


  1. A portion or list, especially a list of candidates for an office.


  1. simple past of let

Etymology 2

Originated 1400–50 from late lete, from lete and leta, possibly from gelǣte.


  1. A regular court in which the certain lords had jurisdiction over local disputes, or the physical area of this jurisdiction.

Etymology 3

rfe Etymology uncertain


  1. The European pollock.

Etymology 4

An aphetic form of elite.

Alternative spellings


  1. Of or related to leetspeak.
  2. Possessing outstanding skill in a field; expert, masterful.
  3. Having superior social rank over others; upper class, elite.
  4. Awesome, typically to describe a feat of skill; cool, sweet.


  1. Abbreviation of leetspeak.


  • Webster 1996





Compare hlt.


  1. a list

Extensive Definition

Leet (written 31337, 1337, L337, 1337z0r, 13370rz, and l33t), or Leetspeak, used primarily on the Internet, uses various combinations of ASCII characters to replace Latinate letters. The term is derived from the word "elite", and the usage it describes is a specialized form of symbolic writing. Different dialects of leet are found on different online forums.
Initially, the word leet was used as an adjective, to primarily describe the behavior or accomplishments of others in the community. In that usage, Leet generally carries the same meaning when referring to either the game prowess or, in original usage, hacking expertise of another person. From adjective form its use then expanded to include use as an expletive or interjection in reaction to a demonstration of the former qualities. With the mass proliferation of Internet use in the 1990s into the 21st century, Leet has since become a part of Internet culture and slang. Leet may also be considered a substitution cipher, albeit with much variation from user to user.


Leet originated within bulletin board systems in the 1980s, where having "elite" status on a BBS allowed a user access to file folders, games, and special chat rooms, often including archives of pirated software, pornography, or text files documenting topics such as how to construct explosives and manufacture illegal drugs. One theory is that it was developed to defeat text filters created by BBS or Internet Relay Chat system operators for message boards to discourage the discussion of forbidden topics, like cracking and hacking. Some consider emoticons and ASCII art, like smiley faces, to be Leet, while others maintain that Leet consists of only symbolic word encryption. More obscure forms of Leet, involving the use of symbol combinations and almost no letters or numbers, continue to be used for its original purpose of encrypted communication. It is also sometimes used as a script language.


One of the hallmarks of Leet is its unique approach to orthography, using substitutions of other characters, letters or otherwise, to represent a letter or letters in a word. For more casual use of leet, the primary strategy is to use homoglyphs, symbols that closely resemble (to varying degrees) the letters for which they stand. The symbol chosen is flexible—anything that the reader can make sense of is valid. However, this practice is not extensively used in regular Leet, more often it is seen in situations where the argot characteristics of the system are required, either to exclude newbies or outsiders in general. Another use for Leet orthographic substitutions is the creation of paraphrased passwords. These nouns are often used with a form of "to be" rather than "to have," e.g., "he is pwnage" rather than "he has pwnage". Either is a more emphatic way of expressing the simpler "he pwns," but the former implies that the person is embodying the trait rather than merely possessing it. Derivation of a noun from an adjective stem is done by attaching -ness to any adjective. This is entirely the same as the English form, except it is used much more often in Leet. Nouns such as lulzness and leetness are derivations using this suffix. When forming a past participle ending in -ed, the Leet user may replace the -e with an apostrophe, as was common in poetry of previous centuries, (e.g. "pwned" becomes "pwn'd"). Note that the conventions of Leet allow for some misplaced punctuation, since it is assumed that the user is typing very quickly; therefore the apostrophe may shift its position without changing the word's meaning. The word ending may also be substituted by -t (e.g. pwned becomes pwnt). Words ending in -and, -anned, -ant, or a similar sound can sometimes be spelled with an ampersand (&) to express the ending sound (e.g. "This is the s&box," "I'm sorry, you've been b&", "&hill/&farm"). This is most commonly used with the word banned. An alternate form of "B&" is "B7", as the ampersand is typed with the "7" key in the standard US keyboard layout. It is often seen in the phrase "IBB7" (in before banned).


Leet can be pronounced as a single syllable, /ˈliːt/, rhyming with eat, by way of aphesis of the initial vowel of "elite". It may also be pronounced as two syllables, /ɛˈliːt/. Like other hacker slang, Leet enjoys a looser grammar than standard English. Leet is not solely based upon one language or character set. Greek, Russian, Chinese, and other languages have Leet forms, and Leet in one language may use characters from another where they are available. As such, while it may be referred to as a "cipher", a "dialect", or a "language", Leet does not fit squarely into any of these categories. The term leet itself is often written l33t, or 1337, and many other variations. After the meaning of these became widely familiar, 10100111001 came to be used in its place, because it is the binary form of 1337, making it more of a puzzle to interpret. An increasingly common characteristic of Leet is changing its grammatical usage to be deliberately incorrect. The widespread popularity of deliberate misspelling is similar to the cult following of the "All your base are belong to us" phrase. Indeed, the online and computer communities have been international from their inception, so spellings and phrases typical of non-native speakers are quite common.

Rhyming and rhythm

Care is taken by users of Leet to combine similarly timed words, or to encipher words into ways such that they have a common rhythm or rhyme. An example of this is the phrase "roffle my woffles" (note both spelling error (woffle) and word timing) ("roffle" is derived from the phonetic pronunciation of the acronym ROFL). Other examples would be "roxorz your boxorz" (in this case, rhyming).

Over-exclamation and other emphasis

Another common feature of Leet is over-exclamation, where a sentence is postfixed with many exclamation marks. In some cases, because the exclamation symbol (!) resides on the same key as the number one (1) on QWERTY keyboards, over-exclamation can be accidentally (or purposefully) typed with extraneous numerical digits, owing to the excitement of the typist (e.g. "This is really exciting!!11"). This was especially likely in the context of fast-paced online multiplayer games, where typing carefully leaves the gamer vulnerable to attack. Some deliberately type the numbers, while others take the exclamation further and sarcastically replace some of the digits with various written forms (e.g. "STFU!!11one"), or in cases of extreme sarcasm, another number or prerequisite key (e.g. "OMG!!!!11!!11oneonesix", or "PMG!!!!111!11shiftone1!11shift1!!1111capslock1!oneoneone1one33212322eightytwo"). As with most alternative Leet spellings or grammar, inclusion of these traits in a sentence is often done on purpose. The intent is typically to either lighten the mood, strengthen a point (by mocking someone who may not be privy to the discussion), or convey a sense of irony, depending on the context.


Many words originally derived from Leet slang have now become part of the modern Internet slang, such as "pwned". especially the "z" at the end of words ("skillz").

Terminology and Common misspellings

Warez (nominally ) is a plural shortening of "software", typically referring to pirated software. Joo takes the place of "you", "Moar" (often capitalized as "MOAR") takes the place of "more". This use came from a misspelling that evolved into a meme on the website 4chan.

Haxor and Suxxor, or Suxorz

Haxor, and derivations thereof, is Leet for "hacker", and it is one of the most commonplace examples of the use of the -xor suffix. Suxxor (pronounced suck-zor) is a derogatory term which originated in warez culture and is currently used in multi-user environments such as multiplayer video games and instant messaging; it, like haxor, is one of the early Leet words to use the -xor suffix. Suxxor is a modified version of "sucks" (the phrase “to suck”), and the meaning is the same as the English slang. Its negative definition essentially makes it the opposite of roxxor, and both can be used as a verb or a noun.


In hangul, the Korean alphabet, people express a laughter sound with repetitions of the character "ㅋ", similar to the "k" sound in English (this occurs only in the Internet; it is improper to use only "ㅋ" to express a laughter in writings or formal situations). Since early versions of StarCraft did not support hangul, Korean players would use a romanized spelling—hence, kekeke was born. The phrase is a phrase similar to the English and French "hahaha", Thai "555" (pronounced "hahaha"), Spanish "jajaja", Chinese "hehehe", Japanese "fufufu"/"kukuku", or German "hihihi". It is often used in-game as an expression of exaltation or as a form of mockery. Commonly, it is associated with the StarCraft tactic of a Zerg Rush, named after the StarCraft faction for whom the tactic was created. Similar acronyms were quickly added to the lexicon, including ROFL (“Rolling On the Floor Laughing”), LMAO (“Laughing My Ass Off”), and the combination of the two; ROFLMAO ("Rolling On the Floor Laughing My Ass Off"). A less common variation on ROFL is FOFL, meaning Falling On Floor Laughing. ROFL is sometimes spelled as "roffle", as in the parody of Waffle House, Roffle House. Derivations of the acronym quickly became incorporated into the Leet vocabulary. ROFL can also be combined with LOL, yielding ROFLOL (Rolling On the Floor Laughing Out Loud). The words "lool" and "lawl" are now starting to be used. "Lool" (sometimes "loool" or even more o's) shows a longer laugh than simply "lol" on its own. "Lawl" is the spelling of the pronunciation of lol as a word.
More recently, "lol" has been popularized as a noun, most frequently seen pluralized as "lolz" or deliberately misspelled "lulz", as in "I did it for the lulz" and "epic lulz."


Within Leet, the term noob, and derivations thereof, is used extensively. The word means, and derives from, newbie (as in new and inexperienced or uninformed), For example, in a multiplayer first-person shooter game, a player with a default starting gun defeats an opponent carrying a vastly superior weapon. This would indicate dominant skill in the player with the inferior weapon, who outplayed (owned or pwned) the player with superior firepower. As in a common characteristic of Leet, the terms have also been adapted into noun and adjective forms, Pwned is commonly referred to as "power owned", using the previous example that if the player with the inferior weapon killed the other player without getting hit, he would have "pwned" the player. This act is often followed up by "teabagging"/corpse humping (the rapid squatting and standing over a dead player) or continued fire into their corpse after reloading.
Pwn, or Pwned, is also commonly used when person attempts to make a joke (more particularly something bad about a person) but the joke fails and nobody laughs, therefore the person attempting to make a joke is pwned.
New derivations have surfaced in the form of "pwnt" and "ownt", and these words are usually accompanied by the word "noob."


Pr0n is Leet slang for pornography. where a zero is often used to replace the letter O. It is sometimes used in legitimate communications (such as email discussion groups, Usenet, chat rooms, and internet web pages) to circumvent language and content filters, which may reject messages as offensive or spam. The word also helps prevent search engines from associating commercial sites with pornography—which might result in unwelcome traffic. Pr0n is also sometimes spelled backwards (n0rp) to further obscure the meaning to potential uninformed readers. It can also refer to ASCII art depicting pornographic images, or to photos of the internals of consumer and industrial hardware. Prawn, a spoof of the misspelling, has started to come into use, as well; in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a pornographer films his movies on 'Prawn Island'. Conversely, in the RPG Kingdom of Loathing, prawn, referring to a kind of crustacean, is spelled pr0n, leading to the creation of food items such as “pr0n chow mein”.

False HTML Tags

see sarcasm mark Another popular expression within leet (and outside of it as well) is the use of false HTML tags, particularly the sarcasm tag. For example, in a forum message, a person might type: I like you! or even, often included as an afterthought: Oh, sure, that's just what we need.

EverQuest Commands

There was also an EverQuest command - today used by the popular MMORPG World of Warcraft - commonly employed in 1337. It starts with a Slash (/) prefix, and has an action put after it. For example, were a player with a character named Soandso to type "/hungry", the in-game message that appears on the player's screen would read "Soandso is hungry." This format is used commonly in 1337 conversations. For example, a leet person using this command will type or say aloud: "/facepalmwrists" or "slashfacepalmwrists", respectively. And the person if knowingly speaking leet, understands: "I put my face in my palm, and want to slit my wrists."



Upside-down text

  • Revfad's "Flip" - Supports all lowercase letters, but not numbers. Reconverts upside-down text back upside right.
  • Rot180 - Uses combining characters and approximations of capital letters and numbers, often using very rarely supported Unicode characters.
  • - Uses an Arabic character for j, but otherwise similar to Revfad. Does not reconvert backward.
  • - Supports lowercase letters and numbers, again using obscure and sparsely supported (non-Latin) Unicode characters for the latter (although a different set of number characters than the one Rot180 uses). Reconverts upside-down text back upside-right and is compatible with Revfad's algorithm.
  • USD encoding - A completely ASCII-compatible but incomplete encoding system created by Jan Albartus. Supports most letters, although leaving some upright. Some problems occur when rendering the return character.
  • NQAS - Uses characters entirely within Windows-1252 and supports a full range of capital and lowercase letters as well as numbers. Not a complete involution, but offers forward and backward conversion tools. Requires Java.
leet in Catalan: Leet
leet in Danish: Leet
leet in German: Leetspeak
leet in Estonian: Leet
leet in Spanish: Leet speak
leet in French: Leet speak
leet in Galician: Leet
leet in Korean: 리트 (인터넷)
leet in Icelandic: L33t
leet in Italian: Leet
leet in Dutch: Leet
leet in Japanese: Leet
leet in Norwegian: Leet
leet in Polish: Leet
leet in Portuguese: Leet
leet in Russian: Leet
leet in Simple English: Leet
leet in Slovenian: Leet
leet in Finnish: Leetspeak
leet in Swedish: Leet
leet in Thai: ลีท
leet in Chinese: Leet
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