A Guide to Gamer Slang for the Non-Geek Parent

Whether your child is a gamer geek, a fantasy nerd, or an all-around lovable dork, you’ve probably heard some of these terms.

Whether your child is a gamer geek, a fantasy nerd, or an all-around lovable dork, you’ve probably heard some of the terms below. It’s like text speech, but more specific. While you’ve probably got a handle on YOLO and LoL (or at least you think you do), you might still feel a little lost when your child tells you that trolls made him lose his MOBA match, so now his MMR sucks and he’s stuck playing with newbs and filthy casuals. While his tone probably told you that what he just said is bad, if you actually want to know what he meant, here’s some help.

Newb or newbie

This is someone who is new to a game or who plays like they’re new to it (i.e. they’re really bad). So if your child is complaining that her friend is such a newb, it’s costing her MMR, and she’s just so tired of carrying her, maybe you can suggest they play a few non-competitive matches so her friend can practice and get her skills up to snuff.

MMR or Elo

While MMR is an acronym for matchmaking rating, Elo is actually the last name of the guy who invented the Elo rating system (Arpad Elo). Even though your child’s MMR or Elo is calculated differently, both systems determine where your child is ranked competitively against his peers. That ranking will determine the kinds of players he is teamed up with and matched against in his MOBA.

If your child is super irritable he might be stuck in Elo Hell, which means he’s at the very bottom tier so nobody in his MOBA has quite figured out how to work together (with the exception of your child, who is adamant that he was willing to work with others, but nobody would listen him).

seeking freelance writers to submit work about families, parenting and kids

Game types

All right, this section is slightly different because I am bundling a bunch of different definitions into one section, so hold on. First you have your MMOs, which are massively multiplayer online games, like EVE Online. MMOs can also have other acronyms tagged to them like RPG (role-playing games) such as Elder Scrolls, RTS (real-time strategy) like World of Tanks, or FPS (first person shooter) such as Call of Duty. Then you have your MOBAs (multiplayer online battle area), like League of Legends (LoL). There are also sandboxes, which is where your child gets to manipulate the game world. Think Minecraft.


This stands for “looking for group.” The last word may change depending on whatever the in-game teams are called. For instance, in Lord of the Rings Online, it’s looking for fellowship, in keeping with the game’s theme. Once your child has found his group, they will be who your child turns to for help in a game when he encounters dragons or demons he can’t defeat on his own or with his friends from school.


Someone who only plays casually, or who doesn’t spend as much time playing video games as other people. If your child is good at the game, no one is going to care if she is a casual player. However, if her reflexes, knowledge of the games mechanics, or current meta (i.e. which characters were recently nerfed and are no longer viable, and which ones were buffed and thus OP or over-powered) has slipped, she is liable to being called a filthy casual.


A person who purposely tries to lose, whether through feeding (purposely dying to give the other team points), not grouping (not joining up with their teammates to take some objective), or some other method that helps the other team win. Maybe he’s mad because his teammates are not listening to him or because the other team took an early lead. Either way, your child probably wishes that he simply rage-quitted, because now she is trying to beat the opposing team and that teammate.


I’m not defining the acronym. Basically, it’s a crude way of saying go big or go home. Depending on whether or not the action was successful will determine whether or not going HAM was a good thing or a bad thing.

Leet or 1337

 This is a good thing. If you’re curious, when you rotate the numbers 180 degrees they spell leet, which is short for elite. For example, if your child manages to steal a critical objective and turn the tide of the game, that would be leet.


A smurf is someone who has created a new account to play with lower tiered individuals. Famous YouTubers and professional video gamers often have one or more smurfs that they play just to have fun without the pressure of being perfect. Some individuals will try to gain his team’s confidence by informing everyone that he’s a smurf, but whether or not he’s telling the truth is sketchy at best. However, your child will probably be thrilled if she’s ever asked if she’s smurfing.

Raid Boss

In games a raid boss is an NPC (non-player character) boss that is harder to beat than the other bosses in the game. In regards to players, a raid boss is someone who is so overpowering that he can solo the other team (send them all back to their base by himself).

There you have it. A quick and easy guide to some of the games and terms that your nerdy child is using. Of course, you should be warned that this list isn’t exhaustive. There are other terms and phrases like pull aggro (pull aggression), DPS (damage per second), DoT (damage over time), and OOM (out of mana), as well as many game-specific terms, but it is, at least, a start.