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What does YOLO mean, and how do you use it?

Making sense of the life-affirming acronym
Last Updated on September 7, 2023
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Have any of your friends sent you YOLO when chatting on a social media app or site, but you could not respond because you don’t know what it means? If that’s the case, you are in the right place. In this short article, we will explain what YOLO means and how you can use it.

What Does YOLO Mean?

The word “YOLO” stands for “You Only Live Once.” Like the most popular emojis, millennials and teens often use the phrase while chatting with online friends. The idea behind using the motto is to encourage people to seize the moment, take risks, and enjoy life to the fullest.

The idea behind the buzzword is that life is short, and we should make the most of it by pursuing our dreams and bucket list goals, trying new experiences, and not being held back by fear or hesitant behavior. This has been embraced by the younger generation. However, this doesn’t mean that it should only be used by teenagers and young people. You’re never to old to embrace the optimism and fun behind the phrase, and it can be a simple way to convey a wider feeling about a situation.

The meaning of YOLO is a reminder to live life to the fullest – generally a positive attitude. However, there can be some instances where it may not encourage the best decision. This is why you need to know what it means before using it all the time.

This article is about the acronym YOLO. For more information on other bits of internet slang, check out this guide.

How to Use YOLO

Understanding how to use YOLO appropriately is essential because it can have some bad consequences, too. Make sure you know the full meaning of this phrase before throwing it into just any sentence – you don’t want to encourage needlessly reckless behavior.
For instance, suppose someone texts you that he or she is making a decision that might harm him or her. However, you simply send YOLO without understanding the context. In that case, the other person might think that the decision he or she is making is right, and you are encouraging him or her to take it.

Here are some ways you can use the acronym:

  • Embrace the moment: Indicate that you’re about to do something exciting or out of the ordinary. For example, if you’re going to try a new food, you can say, “I’m ordering the spiciest dish on the menu. YOLO!”
  • Share your adventures: When sharing updates or photos from your travels or experiences, consider adding the phrase to convey the sense of living life to the fullest. For instance, “Just hiked to the top of the mountain and caught this amazing sunrise. #YOLO”
  • Encourage others: Use the phrase to motivate or encourage your friends to take risks or seize opportunities. For instance, if a friend hesitates to try something new, you can say, “Come on, give it a try! YOLO!”

Examples of Using YOLO in Sentences

Here are some examples of sentences that use YOLO:

  • “I decided to quit my job and travel the world because, hey, YOLO!”
  • “I’m going skydiving this weekend to experience the thrill of freefall. YOLO, right?”
  • “She asked her crush out on a date, figuring that YOLO and they ended up having a fantastic time together.”
  • “Starting my own business was a huge risk, but I thought, ‘Why not give it a shot? YOLO.'”
  • “I’m going to try that exotic food I’ve never had before. YOLO, it might be amazing!”

It might feel a bit silly to use the word in real life at first, but remember it’s just a bit of fun.

Final Thoughts

YOLO isn’t just a new word for kids and teenagers. Just like the Latin ‘Carpe Diem’, YOLO has a timeless meaning which has transcended internet-speak. Rapper Drake even used it in his song, ‘The Motto‘, and it’s a slang term of the present moment which is worth getting to grips with if want to engage in pop culture. Understanding what the acronym means will also help you navigate Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms where it often pops up.

As a tech and AI writer for PC Guide, Gloria is interested in what new technology means for the future of consumer electronics and digital and broadcast journalism.