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What Does SMH Mean On Facebook & Instagram (And How to Use it?)

SHM is the term used on Facebook, Instagram and other social networks for “shock” or “disappointment. 

SMH” stands for “shaking my head,” which is an internet initialism used to convey dissatisfaction or incredulity, but the meaning may change as per context.

SMH is an acronym like RADAR or NATO formed from the initial letter of each of the successive parts or significant parts of a compound term. SMH ( “Scratching my head”) and SMDH (“shaking my damn head”) are two variations of SMH.


SMH Meaning on Facebook


“SMH” which refers to “shaking my head” on Facebook chat and on other social media platforms, denotes a loss of words when you are unhappy. The meaning, however, may vary based on the circumstances. 

Since changing its name in 1842 — 127 years before the Internet’s forerunner, the ARPANET — the Australian daily The Sydney Morning Herald has claimed the SMH initialism.

Someone might use SMH in response to a news report or a disagreeable post that falls under the “dumbest criminals” category. 

“Shake My Head” was the most prevalent meaning for SMH at the time of publishing. The single definition for the SMH initialism on NetLingo is “Shaking My Head.”

SMH’s Alternative Meanings

SMH can and has taken on some alternate meanings that vary depending on the situation, as Internet slang is a continually changing thing. At the time of publication, the sixth most famous description of SMH in the Urban Dictionary included the alternate interpretation “So Many Haters.” “So Much Hate” is also included in the alternative meaning.

Language as a Function of Chatspeak

When pronouncing the terms out loud, it’s vital to distinguish between initialisms and acronyms. Initialisms are spoken as individual letters, whereas acronyms are pronounced as words. SMH, for instance, is an initialism pronounced “ess-em-aitch” rather than “Sih-muh.” 

The acronym ASAP, which stands for “as soon as possible,” has pre-chatspeak origins, although it is a valid chatspeak phrase. While chatspeak is sometimes blamed for weakening the English language when used outside of the online conversation, a 2009 study concluded that it does not affect children’s spelling abilities.

What does SMH mean on Facebook


SMH Meaning In Texting


Don’t be alarmed if you see the acronym SMH on the Internet or in a text message. It’s a common online acronym used to indicate the physical body language of “shaking my head” in resignation, disappointment, disagreement, annoyance, or disbelief in social media postings or text messages.

SMH and other abbreviated terms are part of a growing trend in online forums and private messaging that saves time while also adding an added emotional response that is sometimes difficult to describe with words alone. 

As the globe embraces mobile web browsing and instant messaging, you can expect to see terms like wth, smh, tbh, bae, and the rest of these wacky short-form words, as well as newer ones, showing up more frequently in your everyday internet usage.

The use of abbreviations in Facebook, other online programs, emails, and text messages shows how our language evolves. They let users send messages faster and with fewer characters, as well as to express emotions that are difficult to communicate in written texts. 

They’re particularly crucial now that we’re moving away from primarily verbal contact over the phone and toward primarily written communication via text messaging, email, blogs, Facebook, and other online social media sites.


SMH Examples


SMH is used in any situation where you might genuinely shake your head in real life, as you might expect. You’d pause and shake your head in amazement if you overheard someone say, “I don’t like to do exercise,” at the gym. 

When the same event happens online, the phrase “SMH” can be used to describe “a full-body reaction to your absolute idiocy” without typing more than three letters.

Some SHM examples are:

  • “Did they actually do that show SMH”
  • “I’m so upset SMH,” says the narrator.
  • “I’m dissatisfied with my results SMH”
  • Have you seen what Smith did to me yesterday SMH”
  • SMH, why do you want to eat this stale cake?”
  • “Did you see last night’s episode?” SMH, it was boring.”
  • Is it true that you slapped her? SMH

How To Use SMH


SMH should be used whenever you physically shake your head. The term has few rules; simply remember that it’s used to indicate disgust, incredulity, horror, or disappointment. You could even make a comedy out of it, similar to how you might teasingly shake your head to get a chuckle in real life.

SMH also doesn’t have a lot of grammatical rules. 

Most people use it at the beginning of a statement (“smh, you guys can’t differentiate a car from a jeep”), but it can also be used in the middle or at the end. You may even say the word alone as if you were shaking your head silently in real life.

Animated GIFs can be used to communicate “SMH” without really saying it. Simply locate an animation you like using a service like GIPHY or Gyfcat and drop it into Twitter, a messenger, or your SMS program.

If the Internet has you scratching your head in befuddlement, it’s time to brush up on some popular internet vocabulary, trends, and jokes. 

SMH’s etymology

SMH was first added to the Urban Dictionary in 2004 with the exact definition as the initialism now has. The origin of the term is unknown. Nonetheless, it was most likely coined around the same time as “facepalm,” a related internet slang that was added to the Urban Dictionary the same month as SMH.

SMH, like “facepalm,” has slowly crept into the mainstream lexicon. It found a home in memes and reaction GIFs, and thanks to social media sites like Facebook and Tumblr, it peaked in popularity in the early 2010s.

According to Google Trends, the peak was in June of 2011, and SMH is becoming less and less popular with each passing year. But, hey, it’s a lot more popular than “facepalm.”

GIF programs like GIPHY and Gfycat, which are now integrated into social media sites, messengers, and your phone’s texting client, are most likely to blame for SMH’s decrease. The phrase “SMH” can only say so much on its own, but a GIF may express complex feelings of contempt and disappointment that are beyond the capacity of language.


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About the author

Atish Ranjan

Atish Ranjan is an established and independent voice dedicated to providing you unique, well researched and original information from the field of technology, SEO, social media, and blogging.

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