What does st8 mean in texting?

Quick Answer

St8 is a slang abbreviation used in texting and online messaging that means “straight.” It refers to someone who identifies as heterosexual or straight. The 8 is used in place of the “gh” in “straight” as a form of text speak. St8 is commonly used by members of the LGBTQ+ community to identify people who are not gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc. It can be used descriptively, as in “He’s st8” or self-descriptively, as in “I’m st8.” St8 is often contrasted with other terms like gay, bi, queer, etc. The emergence of st8 as a shorthand term coincides with the popularization of texting and growth of online LGBTQ+ communities. It allows efficient communication of sexual orientation and identity, particularly in environments with character limits.

Where does st8 come from?

The term st8 originated as a shorthand way to type “straight” in the early days of texting and instant messaging. By replacing “igh” with 8, it shortened the word by two characters. This type of text speak became popular in the 1990s and early 2000s with the rise of SMS messaging and AOL Instant Messenger. Teens and young adults, who were among the first heavy users of texting and IM, shortened many common words for quicker communication.

Some key events in the history of text abbreviations:

– 1982: The first commercial SMS text message was sent.

– 1990s: AOL Instant Messenger and other IM programs gained popularity. Limited character counts spurred creative abbreviations.

– 1997: The first mobile phone with built-in SMS capability was released. Texting became more widespread.

– Early 2000s: Services like Textfree, Kik, and WhatsApp helped drive texting’s popularity. Text speak flourished globally.

As more people, particularly LGBTQ+ youth, began using texting and IM, abbreviations like st8 were popularized to efficiently communicate identity and orientation. It allowed subtle signaling of sexuality in mediated conversations.

How is st8 used in modern texting?

These days, st8 is used in several ways through texting and online messaging:

– To self-identify as heterosexual: “I’m st8 but I support LGBTQ+ rights.”

– To describe someone else’s sexuality: “He’s st8 but happily married.”

– To signal interest or lack thereof: “Sorry, I’m st8” or conversely, “She’s st8 so not my type.”

– To contrast with other orientations: “My best friend is st8 but I’m bi.”

– To abbreviate longer phrases: “st8 acting” instead of straight acting.

The ability to shorthand sexual identity is especially useful on platforms with character limits like Twitter (280 max characters) and SMS texts (160 max characters). St8 condenses meaning down to just 4 characters instead of 7 for “straight.”

Some st8-related abbreviations:

– st8 male/st8 female

– st8-laced – narrowly traditional

– st8 up – to be honest

– st8-edge – clean living

Beyond texting, st8 is sometimes seen in LGBTQ+ hashtags like #st8ally, in forum usernames, and other online contexts. But texting remains its most common habitat.

Why do people use st8 instead of writing “straight”?

There are a few reasons why st8 has caught on as shorthand for straight in texting:

1. Brevity – It saves characters which allows texters to use less of their limited space.

2. Anonymity – St8 can subtly communicate orientation without fully spelling out “straight” which some may prefer.

3. Slang/trendiness – Like other text abbreviations, it emerged as trendy slang in youth culture.

4. Emphasis – Its uniqueness from “straight” makes the orientation stand out more in text.

5. Community identification – It signals membership or alignment with LGBTQ+ community lingo.

So in many cases, st8 serves both functional and social purposes as a texting shorthand. The ability to shave off characters while also indicating in-group orientation knowledge makes it very useful in mediated messaging about identity.

How did st8 spread to wider use from texting?

As texting grew ubiquitous in the 1990s and 2000s, popular abbreviations like st8 quickly spread beyond just texts:

– AIM, chat rooms, forums – Online groups adopted text abbreviations, rapidly spreading them.

– LGBTQ+ spaces – Terms like st8 became ingrained in LGBTQ+ digital communities.

– Social media – Twitter, Instagram hashtags brought slang like st8 to new platforms.

– Youth culture – Teens and young adults exposed other age groups to their texting lingo.

– Texting’s rise – More sophisticated phones made texting commonplace for all ages.

So st8 moved fluidly from its textual origin out to the broader online world through the interconnectedness of digital communications. As more people texted, they exposed their text speak everywhere from AOL profiles to Facebook posts.

Interestingly, while st8 originated as text slang, it is rarely used in formal writing. Its persistence as an informal abbreviation shows its entrenchment in youth/internet linguistic culture.

What are some other common texting abbreviations?

Beyond st8, some other popular texting abbreviations are:

– BRB – Be right back

– LMK – Let me know

– TTYL – Talk to you later

– IRL – In real life

– ICYMI – In case you missed it

– FWIW – For what it’s worth

– HMU – Hit me up

– IMHO – In my humble opinion

– NP – No problem

– NM – Never mind

– THX – Thanks

– LOL – Laugh out loud

– OMG – Oh my god

– TMI – Too much information

– SMH – Shaking my head

– TBH – To be honest

– ROFL – Rolling on the floor laughing

– AFK – Away from keyboard

– TBD – To be determined

– Asap – As soon as possible

Many of these came out of early instant messaging or chat room jargon before becoming texting lingo. They can signify contextual tone and subtext that is hard to convey through text alone.

Does st8 have any negative connotations?

For the most part, st8 is used neutrally to connote heterosexual orientation. However, as with any term denoting identity, it can potentially have negative connotations depending on context and usage.

Possible negative usages of st8 include:

– Contrasting st8 and LGBTQ+ as mutually exclusive identities. This frames straight as the norm vs. LGBTQ+ as the deviation.

– Implying st8 is superior to being LGBTQ+. This associates heteronormativity with higher value.

– Using st8 stereotypically, e.g. “He likes sports, he must be st8.” Reduces people to simplistic labels.

– Applying st8 prescriptively, as in, someone “should be” st8 rather than LGBTQ+. Marginalizes non-hetero identities.

– Employing st8 aesthetically to mean rigidly conventional. Equates LGBTQ+ with unconventionality and rebellion.

– Linking st8 to gender conformity, e.g. “She wears dresses, she’s obviously st8.” Imposes stereotypical gender roles.

Avoiding these connotations requires using st8 only as a value-neutral descriptor. Wider acceptance of LGBTQ+ identities will also reduce any negative attachments to the term.

How does st8 fit into LGBTQ+ culture?

While st8 denotes straight sexual orientation, its emergence as slang is tied closely to LGBTQ+ digital communities. Some ways it fits into LGBTQ+ culture:

– Serves as an in-group marker that originated from LGBTQ+ spaces and texts.

– Reinforces identity labels as meaningful but fluid rather than fixed.

– Signals membership in cutting-edge youth/internet groups who popularized such slang.

– Allows efficient communication about orientation and attraction when character space is limited.

– Fosters subtle expression of identity that may still carry stigma if spelled out.

– Represents rejection of heteronormativity via playful word subversion (text-speak).

So while on its face st8 just means straight, its unique styling as text slang shows an embeddedness in LGBTQ+ linguistic culture. This illustrates how language, identity, and community are deeply intertwined.

What are some other LGBTQ+ texting abbreviations?

Some other common texting abbreviations related to LGBTQ+ terms and culture are:

– QT – Cutie

– GF/BF – Gay friend/boyfriend

– BFF – Best friend forever

– T4T – Trans for trans

– ACE – Asexual

– SEN – Sensual

– BAE – Before anyone else

– TDTM – Talk dirty to me

– 411 – Information

– IWSN – I want sex now

– PNP – Party and play

– MOC – Masculine of center

– DL – Down low

– VGL – Very good looking

As with st8, these allow quick communication of orientation, interests, and subculture lingo in succinct text formats. They represent an evolution of LGBTQ+ identity language within mediated technological spaces.

Are there regional differences in using st8?

Some key regional variations in using st8:

United States – St8 emerged from U.S. texting culture and remains widely used to self-identify or label orientation. It is common across most regions.

United Kingdom – Less commonly used compared to the full word “straight.” Other abbreviations like Str8 may be more prevalent.

Canada – Frequently used, especially by younger demographics who are heavy texters. Aligns closely with U.S. usage.

Australia – Sometimes used, but “straight” remains more common. Reflects less texting abbreviation usage overall.

Spanish-speaking countries – Not commonly used due to fewer letter reductions possible from “heterosexual.” “Hetero” is more common slang.

Asia – Not widely used as the equivalent word for “straight” does not allow for st8 abbreviation. Transliterated foreign words are more common slang.

So st8 emerges most from English-language texting culture, particularly in countries like the U.S. and Canada. It is less common globally in areas without an easy word abbreviation. However, English text slang does spread through global internet linguistic exchanges.

What are some examples of st8 used in a sentence?

Here are some examples of st8 used in a sample sentence:

-“I just started a new job where I’m the only st8 person on my team, but everyone has been really welcoming.”

-“My best friend recently came out to me as pansexual, though I’ve always identified as st8.”

-“There tend to be more assumptions made about someone’s sexuality if they don’t appear stereotypically st8.”

-“Many people find that sexuality lies on a spectrum and can change over time, even if they considered themselves st8 earlier in life.”

-“Some st8 allies display symbols like rainbow pins to signal their support for the LGBTQ+ community.”

-“The new Netflix show has st8, gay, bi, trans, and non-binary characters – it’s great to see that diversity on screen.”

-“He used to pretend he was st8 back when he was closeted, though he’s thankfully able to live openly now.”

-“She identifies as a st8 woman and uses she/her pronouns, just FYI before we meet her.”

-“Even though we come from conservative families, we’re committed to raising st8-affirming and LGBTQ-affirming children.”


In summary, st8 is a texting abbreviation for “straight” that emerged from the shorthand lingo of early digital messaging. It allows efficient communication of sexual identity and orientation, particularly within the limited character confines of texting. St8 became popular among LGBTQ+ communities and youth culture before spreading more broadly online.

Its enduring use as slang reflects how technology and texting culture have shaped expression of identities. While st8 literally just means straight, its stylistic distinctiveness from “straight” shows its deep entrenchment as in-group shorthand. For texters aiming to save characters or signal community belonging, st8 remains a quick way to convey an essential aspect of identity.

Leave a Comment