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"Leet speak" (or "1337 Sp34k") is a form of obfuscated writing which replaces letters with numbers, symbols, other letters, or combinations of the above that resemble whatever letter is being expressed.
A similar phenomenon of chatspeak, which consists of abbreviations, like "lol", "wtf", and "omg". Chatspeak also usually omits punctuation and capitalization. Originally leet speak came into being as a way for hackers, crackers and pirates to circumvent the primitive word-based censoring on bulletin boards, while chatspeak was born out of a need for for speed and convenience when typing on handheld devices. Nowadays both are mostly done for parody or simply out of laziness. Chatspeak, along with numerous other forms of net slang, has been a tremendous influence on leet, so expect loads of overlap. Kitty pidgin is the specific mixture of the above inspired by LOLCats
You'll also want to be on the lookout for deliberate typos like "teh" (the), "liek" (like), and "pwn" (own, i.e. defeat), Xtreme Kool Letterz , phonetic spellings, not-so-phonetic spellings, and much, much more. Leet is also very grammatically loose, so "haxxorz" can mean "hacks" or "hackers" depending on context. And most importantly of all, leetspeak should never be consistent. Different symbols should be substituted for the same letter within a single sentence, word, or even character. The more random it seems, the better.
See also Letters 2 Numbers, Future Slang, and Techno Babble. We have a home page written like this.
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4|\|1|\/|U |\| |\/|/-\60 (Anime and Manga)
In Lucky StarKonata's friends are slightly puzzled that she doesn't ever talk that way in real life...but when she shows them what her chat logs look like they can barely recognize it as Japanese.
There's also this "gatongo" person in Konata's friend list that fills his/her chat log with "wwww" (which is the Japanese equivalent of "lolololol").
Enhanced in translation by certain fansub group: "roflcopterskatesbbq".
In Halo Legends (Specifically Toei Animation's "Odd One Out") one of the Spartans is designated "Spartan 1337"
The 2010 G Gundam manga introduces the JMF1337SD Shading Gundam, a black version of the Shining Gundam. However, this was most likely a coincidence, seeing as the original 1994 anime had the JMF1336R Rising Gundam.
A mystery Kogoro is tasked to solve in Case Closed revolves around a mysterious text message that is revealed to be the Japanese version of leet.
Frau Kojirou from Robotics;Notes who says things like TY/thx and GTFO.
In the Death Note fanfic The Killer In You Rem is able to get around the restriction that Shinigami aren't supposed to help humans by giving them the names of people they want to kill by giving Light the names in 1337 lingo that she apparently learned from watching Misa chat. Because she writes it as "'Ryuzaki: L L a 2u l i e t, 2uatari: Q u i l l s h 2u a m m y" she didn't technically give the name.
Snow Crash has the unusually-subtle example of Da5id.
1|V 4CTi|\| -|-\/ (Live Action TV)
NUMB3RS uses leetspeak on occasion. Charlie's girlfriend Amita is fluent in leet, often decoding leet passages for Don and his FBI team.
mun2. Say it in Spanish.
Master Chief from the Arby 'n' the Chief spends the entire series talking in this fashion. "Mai ROFLcar gos n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n-n..."
The character Player from the machinima series Leet World seems to speak pretty much just this, as does Leeroy sometimes. Player differenciates himself from Leeroy in that he actually does not speak literally, using text shown at the bottom of the screen or the Counter-Strike: Source radio commands (naturally, the game used for the machinima), and Leeroy uses it mostly only when speaking of 'World of Battlelore', and is a Geek about it and computers. It is lampshaded by others asking the character Cortez, who is blind, how he can know what Player is saying (he doesn't know how himself). Westheimer has tried to say it himself, likely to trying to be 'on the same level' as Leeroy, as defacto captain of his team.
Image Macros typically use chatspeak captions (partly for comic effect, partly to minimize blocking of the image).
The Orlies from Erfworld are a parody of the (in)famous O RLY owl Image Macro. They talk in snippets of chatspeak (e.g. one says "OMGWTFBBQ" as it's roasted by a dwagon).
And then you get things like LOLCODE, a (working!) programming language based on lolcat-based leetspeak.
And then you have the Lolcat Bible. "An Ceiling Cat sayed, I can has lite? An lite wuz".
Don't forget the Lolcat Wasteland! "earth in ur winter, covered in snow / can has potato. PO-TA-TO. / INVISIBLE SUMMER! RAININGZES! / im in ur hofgarden, drinking ur coffeez."
Google now allows you to view their Home Page this way.
V1D30 94|\/|35 (Video Games)
Kingdom of Loathing has the Valley of Rof'lm'fao, a whole zone full of monsters themed around Internet annoyances, such as the XXX pr0n (a sleazy prawn monster) and the 1335 hax0r (who's apparently not quite skilled enough to be 1337).
An early mission to defeat a Freakshow gang leader (named "T3h PwNxx0rz") rewards the player with the 'Pwnz' badge. Badges can be displayed underneath your name, as sort of a title, so you can see people with that badge walking around like this:
Superhero Name Pwnz
Horrifically, there's a story arc in City of Villains that has you defeat a Freakshow Boss, who then gives you a speech in l337 that spans about four or five paragraphs! Your character, thankfully, gets the gist of it but good luck getting through it yourself.
Sal Manella in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney also speaks 1337. It's pretty funny when Maya tries to figure out what he's saying. "Hey Nick... what does 'suck-sores' mean?"
The MMORPG Anarchy Online features ratlike creatures called "Leets" who sometimes spout leet-speak.
Persona3 has "Maya", a player in the MMPORPG that the Main Character plays type out entirely out of this, even though she happens to be his composition teacher in real life.
In addition, She has no idea that the protagonist is her MMO partner, and freely confesses that she finds his real life self very attractive.
In M.U.G.E.N programming, one parameter is "airjuggle" defining how many hits may be landed on a falling opponent. Fittingly, Rare Akuma's airjuggle is defined as "1337".
Assassin's Creed I has an amusing example of this. In the sections not played in the Animus, Desmond can gain access to the personal mailboxes of the researchers. While Lucy Stillman, the doctor's assistant, types her mails with perfect grammar and spelling, the arrogant, self-righteous Dr. Vidic's e-mails look like he's text messaging, or like he's almost completely illiterate.
In the .hack video games, the character Sora speaks in leet online (in the English version). IN the japanese version he spoke in a way that made it near impossible to translate directly.
Final Fantasy VIII provides an early example; a young boy you meet in Timber speaks partially in chatspeak, with "u" for "you", "2" for "to" and so on.
Perfect Dark includes an unlockable version of the Klobb gun from Golden Eye 1997, renamed the "KL01313". Also, in the Attack Ship level, the information screen for Cassandra de Vries' necklace displays the message "Password: I8MOZYM8NDI8S".
Zero's skills and heads in Borderlands 2 all feature this. Skills have names like B0re and Headsh0t, and his heads include Ech0l0cation and Gh0st. Hyperion also uses this style for a number of their robot names, such as CL4P-TP (Claptrap) and BNK3R (Bunker).
Coco Bandicoot is surprisingly proficient in leet speak, which makes sense, as she is the computer expert. In Crash Nitro Kart, she is audibly crying out, "Roxxor!" and "Suxxor!" which mean "rocks" and "sucks" respectively.
The "Grammar Nazi" character who occasionally showed up in Queen of Wands is shown here lashing out at a l33tspeak user.
'We do not negotiate with terrorists!'
There's also a guy in Megatokyo who solely speaks l337 (called, appropriately, "L33t D00d"); Largo is the only person in the strip who can understand him.
There's even a claim that l337speak entered the mainstream when he was introduced on strip #9, the most famous strip of the entire comic.
The whole scene parodies the "Jive-Talk" scene from the movie Airplane!.
A mad, tire-stealing caper in Ralph Hayes, Jr.'s Tally Ho features a carload of zoo animals, all of whom speak in Leet SpeakInternet memes. The impressive thing about this is that a large number of them speak in species-appropriate Internet memes — the owls' first lines of dialogue are "O RLY? YA RLY!", the more feline characters use Lolcats dialogue, and the walrus was convinced to join up when he was promised that he would get his bucket back.
Misfile had Missi use some in her excitement, followed by an admonishment from Emily here.
Saturn and his parents from Star Guys only speak in n00b. Considering that they're an 'unusual' family, this isn't really surprising.
Sollux replaces 's' with '2' and 'i' with 'ii' because he ha2 a lii2p.
Nepeta replaces 'ee' with '33', to look like a Cat Smile emoticon (:33).
Equius uses '%' for 'x', and '100' and '001' for 'loo' and 'ool' sounds, because he's themed around the legendary "Man of a Hundred Horses" of Arabic myth.
Feferi uses ')(' instead of 'H'.
A special mention to Mituna Captor, PR08481Y 7H3 C105357 70 FU11 1337 7H3 C0M1C W1LL 3VER G37.
Parodied in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures , during one of the author's irregular (and strange) Q&A sessions, where she answers one of the questions her fans email her. One question was in l337, and she couldn't understand it. She did her bestů But it certainly led to one of the oddest jazz ensembles everů Prawn suits and saxophones indeed.
The only exception is the Only Sane Man Joe, whose lines are written in perfect English.
The Teen Girl Squad has been known to pepper their speech with 1337 haXXorz.
Cheerleader: I just picked up this fashion magazine with MORE HOT TIPS!
So And So: w00t!
Whats Her Face: w00t!
The Ugly One: w00t!
The TGS menu page title reads "T33n G1rl Squ4dx0rx!!"
The Chaos Timeline has its own version: The currency of the German technocracy is the Thaler, abbreviated "Th". Thus, people from this timeline will replace the T's in names of firms considered too greedy with Th. One example is the computer/electronics firm Werstand (imagine a cross between Microsoft, IBM and Siemens), which becomes Wersthand.
Inserting Leet characters to passwords is actually an efficient way of increasing its length and complexity, making it exponentially harder to crack, especially against dictionary attacks. For example, if your password is "Password" changing it to "P4$5\/\/0r|)" puts your password past the length and character range of all but the most persistent hackers, while still maintaining enough visual cues for you to remember that it is merely your intentionally screwed-up way of spelling "Password".* The human's superior symbolic solution ability is the reason why CAPTCHA images are still readable. At least for now...
This no longer holds water, as the makers of dictionary lists have caught up and you can now find plenty of leetspeak wordlists that cover pretty much any plausible variation of a word (read: any that you wouldn't have trouble remembering yourself). This, of course, doesn't stop many registration pages from accepting leetspeak words that they otherwise wouldn't - but the usefulness of this is highly questionable.
In January 2011, Funimation tried to sue 1337 Bittorrent users over downloading One Piece, the number no doubt chosen intentionally.