An esports player at a Red Bull event
© Dale Tidy- Red Bull Content Pool
Games

50 gaming terms every player should know

Want to freshen up on your gamer language, or do you just want to avoid sounding like a total n00b? Here’s an A-Z...
Written by Joe Ellison
11 min readPublished on
An experienced gamer doesn’t necessarily need to use words to communicate with opponents or teammates. On a sports title, they can do their talking on the field. On a racing game, a well-timed shunt might deliver a message. You get the drift.
But nothing beats in-game chat. As the titles themselves have grown, shifted, evolved down the years — particularly with the explosion of online multiplayer — so too has the lexicon, birthing a language of its own depending what video game you're enjoying.
Gamer language has had to adapt to new platforms in step with technology. This is fine if you're well versed, but it can be a little daunting if you’re trying to crack the codes behind the slang and countless abbreviations that punctuate online games.
To provide some assistance, think of this list below like the Rosetta Stone of gaming terms: an exhaustive if not quite completely definitive list of general gaming terms that’ll help open up new horizons.
The Red Bull Gaming Hub at SETU

Harness your skills at the Red Bull Gaming Hub, SETU Waterford Campus

© Red Bull Ireland

Who knows, you might want to put your lingo to the test at Red Bull Gaming Hub (pictured above) which you can find at Ireland's SETU Waterford Campus.
01

50 gaming terms every gamer should know

AAA

AAA --- A blockbuster video game. This could range from an overnight global success to a returning fan favourite, i.e. any Grand Theft Auto or Legend of Zelda title.

AD

AD — ‘Attack Damage’. This gauge comes especially in handy when playing MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games such as Dota 2, where you're fighting numerous opponents at once.

ADS

ADS — ‘Aim Down Sights’. When a player chooses to aim down the sights of their weapon for higher accuracy, as opposed to shooting ‘from the hip’ which can be more erratic.

AFK

AFK — ‘Away from the Keyboard’ for those errant phone calls or bathroom breaks.
A screenshot of League of Legends.

League of Legends gameplay is often fast and frantic

© Riot Games

AoE

AoE — ‘Area of Effect', referencing the degree to which an in-game ability or weapon will affect a specific area or group of teammates/opponents.

Bots

Bots — A non-player controlled character or object, which, in the Mario series for instance, would include Goombas all the way up to final boss Bowser.

Buff

Buff — Any type of boost given to a game character, such as a champion becoming more powerful on League of Legends.

BM

BM — ‘Bad Manners’. When an opponent acts without grace, such as shouting foul language down the mic after you snipe them from 50 yards on Call of Duty: Warzone, or a rival on a football game busts out a special goal celebration when 7-0 up.

Camping

Camping — When a player lies in wait in a secluded spot to catch opponents off guard. Camping is frowned upon but can help you stay alive. ‘Spawn camping’ involves a player staking out a respawn area to line up quick, easy kills.

Clans

Clans — Teams or factions of organised gamers who often play the same title together. This applys to professional esports organisations competing at major events all the way to amateurs playing with friends.

Cooldown

Cooldown — The period of time a player must wait before using a special ability, such as a summoner spell in League of Legends.
Screenshot from Fortnite

In Fortnite, build, build, build. When in doubt, keep building.

© Epic Games

Crafting

Crafting — Using in-game materials and resources to build objects or entire worlds. See: Fortnite players constructing vast towers from wooden logs and other materials (also known as 'mats').

DLC

DLC — ‘Downloadable Content’, often in the form of mandatory updates and patches which can include everything from brand new multiplayer maps to perks and fresh characters.

DPS

DPS — ‘Damage Per Second’, referencing the amount of damage a weapon or character is able to dish out.

Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs — Bonus features for gamers strategically placed across the game, ranging from simple touches (Super Mario 64 callbacks in Super Mario Odyssey, for instance) to game-within-games, such as playing an Atari 2600 on Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Frag

Frag — Killing an opponent. In Valorant, for example, an entry fragger is the agent tasked with entering a battle first and taking as many opponents out of the game as possible. In certain shooters a frag can also be used to describe a grenade.
A screenshot of Valorant

Valorant is one of the most fun FPS games out there

© Riot

FPS

FPS — ‘First-Person Shooter’, which describes an action video game based around the perspective of a weapon, such as Valorant. Red Bull Campus Clutch, which has student teams across the world fighting it out on said game, is one of the most exciting FPS tournaments around.

Ganking

Ganking — Attacking a weaker or outnumbered enemy player. Teamwork and communication can be key to pull this off.

Glitch

Glitch — Capitalising on a malfunction, or glitch, within the gameplay to score an advantage. Not always a good thing if your Wi-Fi suddenly starts playing up.

Grinding

Grinding — A repetitive set of actions which help to build experience points (XP) or unlock rewards, also known as ‘farming’. Mining earth, smashing crates, completing side quests — it’s all in a day’s work.

Hitscan

Hitscan — A gameplay mechanic where bullets aren’t affected by adverse elements and arrive at their target immediately.

HP

HP — 'Hit Points', or 'Health Points', relating to a unit of health or amount of health a character has remaining.

HUD

HUD — 'Heads-Up Display,' otherwise known as how you see all your vitals and information (health, map, weapons, ammo levels, objects, XP) displayed on the screen.

Kiting

Kiting — Creating enough of a distance between you and the enemy that you can still attack them while on the move. Many of the best teams on World of Warcraft will kite opponents as one.

Lag

Lag — When your internet connection affects the gameplay, with actions taking longer than they normally would.
Big Bird at Red Bull Kumite 2023

Big Bird won Red Bull Kumite 2023 in South Africa

© Mpumelelo Macu / Red Bull Content Pool

Mashing

Mashing — Button bashing, basically. When unsure what to do in a fighting game, for instance, a rookie player might end up hitting the pad wildly in the hope it might result in a few combinations.

MMORPG

MMORPG — ‘Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game’, which include the likes of RuneScape, Final Fantasy XI, and of course, Blizzard’s multi-billion dollar franchise, World of Warcraft. See also: MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena), for the likes of Dota 2 and League of Legends.

Meta

Meta — ‘Most Effective Tactics Available’, AKA the current most popular tactic or strategy to win a game or defeat a boss. This can shift not only from sequel to sequel, but even with the frequent downloadable updates.

Mod

Mod — Short for ‘Modification’, it simply means the way in which a player is able to alter the game themselves, ranging from the look or layout of a map right down to the features of a character and more.

Nerf

Nerf — When a certain character, ability or weapon in a game is weakened. For example, if something is deemed to give an unfair advantage to players, developers may choose to reduce its impact when they release a new patch, or DLC.

N00b

N00b — A rookie or newbie whose skills in a certain game are still a work in progress. A highly loaded word, it’s a pejorative term either aimed at those actually making a nuisance of themselves (“You forgot to open your parachute? Such a N00b!”) or a regular player somebody wants to rile up.

NPC

NPC — ‘Non-Playable Character’.
Tekken 7

The hits don't get much bigger than on Tekken 7

© Bandai Namco Entertainment

OHKO

OHKO — ‘One Hit Knock-Out’. Being able to dispatch an opponent with a single hit or combo is rare within fighting games, but it does happen.

OG

OG — ‘Original Gangster’, meaning veteran or highly skilled player at a specific video game. Not to be confused with Team OG, the only Dota 2 team to win back-to-back titles at The International.
Watch how Team OG did the unthinkable in 2018 and 2019 in the film below...

1 h 21 min

Against the Odds

This is the journey of five Dota players and a coach, who just two months before had never played together.

English +17

Peel

Peel — Taking one for the team, this is where players draw opponents to them in order to take the heat off more vulnerable teammates

Ping

Ping — 1) The time it takes for a computer or console to communicate with the gaming server. Or, 2) Markers used by team members to communicate directions, objects or threats.

PVP/PVE

PVP/PVE — ‘Player vs Player’ is when two human players face off against one another in a game. ‘Player v Environment’, however, is when a player goes up against computer-controlled characters or external threats which could include a hostile open world, i.e. the Resident Evil series.

Pwned

Pwned — ‘Owned’ in other words. When you get humbled. If you start trash talking and can’t back it up, expect to hear this on the proxy chat.

Ragequit

Ragequit — When an opponent abruptly leaves a game due frustration over lag, performance or bad luck. This is extremely common on EA Sports' FIFA Ultimate Team, where many a controller has been destroyed in frustration.

RNG

RNG — ‘Random Number Generators’. These computer algorithms can decide everything from how a weapon affects a character to what comes up in your loot.

RPG

RPG — ‘Role Playing Game’. This traditionally describes turn-based games, i.e. the Final Fantasy series, but is also used more broadly to describe fantasy games in which there might feature subtle RPG-like elements, such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla.

Scrub

Scrub — The worst kind of player, a born complainer who will call others out for their gameplay and who will use every excuse in the book to justify a poor showing or dastardly tactics.

Skin

Skin — The look of an environment or character, right down to the appearance of a mercenary on Call of Duty: Warzone. Many skins will cost you in-game coins or serious XP to unlock them.

Smurf

Smurf — When an experienced player creates a new account on a game in order to play against lower-ranked players to rack up some easy victories. You’ll certainly be feeling blue after bumping into one of these guys.

Snowball

Snowball — When a character or team gains an early advantage and quickly grows more powerful in the game.

Tank

Tank — Typically built like a tank, this character is infamous for how much pain they can take, frequently protecting teammates by drawing the ire of the enemy instead. ‘Tanking’ is to take high amounts of damage.
A promo shot for Battlefield

The Battlefield game series is one of the most explosive ever made

© IGN

TTK

TTK — ‘Time to Kill’ refers to the amount of time it takes to eradicate an opponent, particularly in FPS games.

WP

WP — Abbreviation of ‘Well Played’ to congratulate a team or even an opponent as a gesture of goodwill. Similar terms include GG (‘Good Game’), or even a combination of both: GGWP.

XP

XP — 'Experience Points', which are typically won, or farmed, by completing levels, slaying baddies, winning matches, making combos or from raiding loot boxes.

Zooning

Zoning — Preventing an enemy from either gaining XP or simply pushing them into a less than advantageous position.
02

FAQs

What are some gamer phrases?

In addition to the 50 terms above, here are five bonus phrases that could help give you an edge:
  1. Cheesing — Bending the rules or finding left-field methods in order to complete objectives.
  2. Juggling — When fighting game players keep an opponent in mid-air as they unleash a flurry of combos.
  3. Noob-tube — Typically referring to grenade launchers, it’s a term that throws shade at rookie players who favour high powered yet unsophisticated weapons.
  4. OP — ‘Overpowered’, which describes weapons or skillsets that may be more effective than others during gameplay.
  5. OTW — ‘On The Way’, to let teammates know you’re not far away.

What is a gamer motto?

Who better to provide a few words of wisdom than Faker? The man who puts the legend in League of Legends, once opened up to Red Bulletin about his mindset in the game:
South Korea's Faker

South Korea's Faker is an icon in League of Legends

© lolesports.com

“One of my strengths is understanding not only my own play but the situation of the overall team,” says the South Korean, stressing the importance of keeping competitiveness out of their offline lives.
“Like they say, there’s no ‘i’ in team," he adds. Read more tips from him here.

When did gamers develop their own terms?

From the Atari onwards video gaming was seen as a largely solo pursuit, but as multiplayer PC gaming came to the fore, starting with Doom co-op games on LAN, there was a big shift in how gamers communicated, even mirroring the way mobile phone text speak began to shape and shorten language.
A PC gamer wearing a headset

Headsets have literally changed the game...

© PC Gaming

Today, with the rise of headsets, in-game chat has never been more intimate. It might not always be amicable but nothing will help you lead a team into battle more than a good set of comms.
Now just brush up on the phrases above and you can't go wrong.

Part of this story

Against the Odds

This is the journey of five Dota players and a coach, who just two months before had never played together.

1 h 21 min
Watch Film