Wading into the weekly Carolyn Hax chat can be a bit overwhelming for newcomers, with its insider lingo and seemingly opaque abbreviations. 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 chat-land.

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

Big girl panties – Use of this phrase has been banned since 2010, when it was officially retired.

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. Click here to see the origins.

DH – Dear husband (One chatter adds: “DH can also stand for d-mned husband, depending on the circumstances.”)

DIL – Daughter-in-law

FIL – Father-in-law

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

MIL – Mother-in-law

MOB – Mother of the bride

MOH – Maid of honor

Nuts – Also Nutterati. Short for Peanuts or Peanut gallery, as in, all of us dedicated readers who chime in with input.

OP – Original poster

Philes – Forums where Carolyn pitches questions to readers to share their advice.

Remora – A parasitic fish, or a person who gloms on and won’t let go.

YMMV – Your mileage may vary

What other words and phrases should be included? Is there a phrase you weren’t clear on that should be added? Leave additional thoughts and suggestions in the comments.

For even more Carolyn:
The funniest stories from the annual Hootenanny of Holiday Horrors (so far)
The best, worst and weirdest of Carolyn Hax Live