Wading into the weekly Carolyn Hax chat can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers, with its insider lingo, abbreviations and references to years-old stories. But don’t worry! We’ve got you covered with this guide to some of the most-used and most-beloved terms you’ll come across in the chat. This list will be updated.

Bacon pants — This is one of those phrases that just kind of stuck and became all-purpose. Here’s the 2001 chat where it originated.

Bonus kid — A stepchild

Celery man — A reference to a vegetable centerpiece mentioned in a Holiday Hootenanny story. Here’s the 2020 chat where it originated.

CH — Carolyn Hax

Death chair — This one is from a holiday story about a family whose holiday table includes an unlucky “death chair” and is another phrase that just stuck. Here’s the 2000 chat where it originated.

DH — Dear husband

DIL — Daughter-in-law

Exploding tequila turkey — A classic Holiday Hootenanny story about a Christmas turkey. See the 2010 chat where it originated. See also, the exploding ham of 2016.

FIL — Father-in-law

FOO — Family of origin

Fox — Sounds like a specific curse word

FWIW — For what it’s worth

GaslightingFrom the 1944 movie “Gaslight,” about a wife tricked into doubting herself on such basic things that she just defers to her controlling husband.

Glassbowl — A person who is being a jerk. Think about what not-so-nice word glassbowl rhymes with.

Hamster Wheel of Despair — Also Dating Hamster Wheel of Despair or DHWD. From a 2007 column, describing a recurring cycle of unhappy behavior.

Head to keyboard — An action of sheer exasperation.

Hoot — Also Hootenanny. Annual chat events where we share our horror stories from the holidays or from wedding season.

LW — Letter writer

Martin Van Buren — The eighth president of the United States and a reference to a memorable Holiday Hootenanny story. See the 2017 chat where it originated.

MIL — Mother-in-law

MOB — Mother of the bride

MOH — Maid of honor

Naked Susan — One of the most iconic Holiday Hootenanny stories of recent memory. See the 2018 chat where it originated here. Read the update on the charades clue here.

Nibling — A gender-neutral term for the children of one’s siblings.

Nuts — Also nutterati. The dedicated readers who comment regularly on the column. Replaces the problematic “peanut gallery.”

Online only — A request that some chatters make when submitting questions to prevent them from appearing in print. We try to honor “online only” requests, but because of the volume of questions coming in, we don’t always see them.

OP — Original poster

Reindeer poop award — Deer poop that has been dried out, shellacked and mounted to a plaque. See the story from the 2000 Holiday Hootenanny here.

SO — Significant other

Stuffing incident of 2015A 2015 Holiday Hootenanny story about the importance of stuffing. Read an update here.

TL;DR — Too long; didn’t read. Often used in front of a short summary of a long story.

YMMV — Your mileage may vary