The Twitter glossary

The Twitter Glossary contains vocabulary frequently used to talk about features on our site and aspects of our service. Following each definition are links to related articles in our help center for further exploration of each term.  


# - A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W–Z



See "Hashtags" Read "What are Hashtags?"


The @ sign is used to call out usernames in Tweets, like this: Hello @Twitter! When a username is preceded by the @ sign, it becomes a link to a Twitter profile. See also Replies and Mentions. Read more about replies and mentions.


Lives in the Notifications tab. Activity is a real-time dashboard to view what the people you're following are up to on Twitter. You can view Tweets they've favorited and discover other good content on Twitter.


A computational procedure for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. Used frequently on Twitter to determine most popular Tweets and trends. Read more about trends.


An Application Programming Interface. Contains all Twitter data and is used to build applications that access Twitter much like our website does. Read more about API security.

Application (third-party)

A third-party application is a product created by a company other than Twitter that's used to access Tweets and other Twitter data. Read about how to get help with a third-party application.


See Profile photo.


A short personal description of 160 characters or fewer used to define who you are on Twitter. Read about how to change your bio.


Find out how to block others.


Twitter buttons are available in the Resources tab of your account, and are used to link to Twitter from other webpages. Read about how to link to your Twitter profile from another site.


A collection of stored data on your computer containing information that may be required in the future and can be accessed rapidly. Learn how to clear your cache here.


The Applications tab in your Twitter settings shows all third-party websites and applications to which you've granted access your public Twitter profile. Revoke access at any time. Learn how to connect to third party apps and websites.


A way to remove your profile from Twitter. Information from deactivated profiles remains in our system for 30 days. Learn how to deactivate your account.


Engineers who don't work for Twitter, but who use Twitter's open-source API to build third-party applications. 

Direct message

Also called a DM and most recently called simply a "message," these Tweets are private between the sender and recipient. Tweets sent over SMS become DMs when they begin with "d username" to specify who the message is for. Learn more about direct messages.


The Discover tab is where you'd find top Tweets, Who to Follow, Activity, Find Friends, and Browse Categories. The Discover tab is all about, you guessed it, discovering new and engaging things to do on Twitter!


See Direct Message.

Email notifications

Preferences set by Twitter users to regulate notifications via email about events on your account, such as new followers and new direct messages. Read about how to change your email preferences.


To favorite a Tweet means to mark it as one of your favorites by clicking the yellow star next to the message. You can also favorite via SMS. Read more about favorites.


#FF stands for "Follow Friday." Twitter users often suggest who others should follow on Fridays by tweeting with the hashtag #FF.


To follow someone on Twitter is to subscribe to their Tweets or updates on the site. Find out more about following, or learn how to follow others.

Follow count

The numbers that reflect how many people you follow, and how many people follow you. Found on your Twitter Profile. Read more about following.


A follower is another Twitter user who has followed you. Find out more about following, or learn how to follow others.


Your following number reflects the quantity of other Twitter users you have chosen to follow on the site. Find out more about following.

Geolocation / Geotagging

The use of location data in Tweets to tell us where you are in real time. Is also called "Tweet With Your Location." Learn how to safely Tweet with your location.

GFF (Get Followers Fast)

Sites that promise to get you more followers if you provide your username and password. After signing up, these sites send spam from your account. Don't use them.


See Hacking.


Gaining unauthorized access to an account via phishing, password guessing, or session stealing. Usually this is followed by unauthorized posts from the account. Users often use the word "hacking" for many things that are not hacking. Click here if you think you've been hacked. Read more about how to keep your account safe.


A user's "Twitter handle" is the username they have selected and the accompanying URL, like so: Find out how to change your username.


The # symbol is used to mark keywords or topics in a Tweet. It was created organically by Twitter users. Read more about hashtags.


A real-time list of Tweets from those you follow. It appears on your Twitter home page. Find out more about your timeline.

HT or h/t

 Usually means "hat tip." A way of acknowledging the person who originally shared the content being tweeted, such as a link to an article or video.


To pretend to be someone on the internet that you are not. Impersonation that is intended to deceive is prohibited under the Twitter Rules. Parody accounts are allowed. Read about impersonation policies and procedures.


To be included in another Twitter user's list. Listed numbers and details appear in the statistics section of your profile. Learn more about lists.


Curated groups of other Twitter users. Used to tie specific individuals into a group on your Twitter account. Learn more about lists.

Log in

The act of signing in to one's Twitter account on or any third party application.


Mentioning another user in your Tweet by including the @ sign followed directly by their username is called a "mention". Also refers to Tweets in which your username was included. Read more about replies and mentions.


 Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), often called picture messaging, allows you to send media like audio or photos from your phone. Learn how to Tweet a picture via MMS.

Mobile web

Twitter's website tailored to fit your mobile device. Visit it at Find out how to use


Similar to RT, an abbreviation for "Modified Tweet." Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message with modifications, for example shortening a Tweet.


A name that can be different from your username and is used to locate you on Twitter. Must be 20-characters or fewer. Learn how to change your name.


The Notifications tab lets you view interactions, mentions, recent follows and Retweets. Using the Notifications tab you're able to view who has favorited or retweeted your Tweets, who has recently followed you, and all of your @replies and @mentions.


A method to allow a user to grant a 3rd party access to their account without giving up their password. Find out how to safely connect to third party applications.


"OH" most often means "overheard" in Tweets. Used as a way to quote funny things people overhear.


To spoof or to make fun of something in jest. Twitter users are allowed to create parody Twitter accounts, as well as commentary and fan accounts. Read our parody guidelines.


Tricking a user to give up their username and password. This can happen by sending the user to fake login page, a page promising to get you more followers, or just simply asking for the username and password via a DM or email. Click here if your account has been phished.


A Twitter page displaying information about a user, as well as all the Tweets they have posted from their account. Learn how to change your profile information.

Profile photo

The personal image uploaded to your Twitter profile in the Settings tab of your account. Read about how to change your profile picture.

Promoted Tweets

Tweets that selected businesses have paid to promote at the top of search results on Twitter. Read more about Promoted Tweets.

Protected/Private Tweets

Twitter accounts are public by default. Choosing to protect your account means that your Tweets will only be seen by approved followers and will not appear in search. Read more about the difference between public and protected Tweets.


A search performed to retrieve information from a database.


A Tweet posted in reply to another user's message, usually posted by clicking the "reply" button next to their Tweet in your timeline. Always begins with @username. Read more about replies and mentions.


The act of bringing a deactivated account back to life on Twitter. It's alive!! Find out more about restoration.

Retweet (noun)

A Tweet by another user, forwarded to you by someone you follow. Often used to spread news or share valuable findings on Twitter. Find out more about retweets.

Retweet (verb)

To retweet, retweeting, retweeted. The act of forwarding another user's Tweet to all of your followers. Find out more about retweets. Learn why you can't retweet certain tweets.


"Real Life Retweet" is another way of saying OH ("overheard"). Used to quote something a person said in "real life."


Abbreviated version of "retweet." Placed before the retweeted text when users manually retweet a message. See also Retweet. Find out more about retweets.

Short Code

A five-digit phone number used to send and receive Tweets via text message. Find your short code.

Sleep Time

Hours in which all mobile Twitter updates will cease to be delivered to your phone. Can be set up through your Settings tab. Learn how to use Sleep Settings.


Short Message Service (SMS) is most commonly known as text messaging. Most messages are a maximum of 140 characters. Learn how to send a Tweet via SMS.


Unwanted messaging or following on Twitter. We work hard to eliminate it. Read about reporting spam on Twitter.


The act of being prevented from using Twitter due to breach of our Terms of Service. Find out how to contest suspension.

Text Commands

When using Twitter via SMS, these commands allow you to access most Twitter features with simple text keywords. Learn the Twitter text commands.

Third-Party application

A third-party application is a product created by a company other than Twitter and used to access Tweets and other Twitter data. Find out how to get help with an application.


Acronym for "Today I learned." Often used at the beginning of a Tweet, for example: "TIL what a hashtag is!"


A real-time list of Tweets on Twitter. See also Home Timeline. Find out more about your timeline.


A note displaying when a Tweet was posted to Twitter. Can be found in grey text directly below any Tweet. Is also a link to that Tweet's own URL. Learn how to link directly to a Tweet.


 Short for "Timeline." See also Timeline and Home Timeline.

Top Tweets

Tweets determined by a Twitter search algorithm to be the most popular or resonant on Twitter at any given time. Find out more about Top Tweets.


A subject algorithmically determined to be one of the most popular on Twitter at the moment. Find out more about trends.

Tweet (verb)

Tweet, tweeting, tweeted. The act of posting a message, often called a "Tweet", on Twitter. Find out how to post a Tweet.

Tweet (noun)

A message posted via Twitter containing 140 characters or fewer. Find out how to post a Tweet.

Tweet button 

A button anyone can add to their website. Clicking this button allows Twitter users to post a Tweet with a link to that site. Find out more!


An information network made up of 140-character messages from all over the world. Sign up! 


To cease following another Twitter user. Their Tweets no longer show up in your home timeline. Learn how to unfollow.


A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a web address that points to a unique page on the internet. Find out how to shorten links.

URL Shortener

URL shorteners are used to turn long URLs into shorter URLs. Shortening services can be found online. Find out how to shorten links. Learn about Twitter's own URL shortener.


Also known as a Twitter handle. Must be unique and contain fewer than 15 characters. Is used to identify you on Twitter for replies and mentions. Find out how to change your username.


A process whereby a user's Twitter account is stamped to show that a legitimate source is authoring the account's Tweets. Sometimes used for accounts who experience identity confusion on Twitter.


A type of account that is allowed to go beyond the restrictions imposed by Twitter. This could be follower limits, posts, API access, etc. Learn more about whitelisting.

Who to Follow

Who to Follow can be found in the Discover tab. Here, you should see a few recommendations of accounts we think you might find interesting. These are based on the types of accounts you’re already following and who those people follow.

Having trouble?

Check out our Troubleshooting section for solutions to common problems.

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