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Leet Lingo
aka: Leet Speak

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"Phoenix, what are 'suck sores'?".


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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 is 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 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.

Leet lingo used to be more common in early 2000s with its use gradually decreasing as the decade progressed. Later uses of this trope are usually throwbacks to the early Internet era.

See also Letters 2 Numbers, Calculator Spelling, Future Slang, and Techno Babble. We have a home page written like this.

!-}X4|\|?L|=Z (Examples):

    open/close all folders 

    4|\|1|\/|U |\| |\/|/-\60 (Anime & Manga) 
  • Lucky Star:
    • Konata'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".
  • The titular Gantz communicates in this way.
  • In Halo Legends (Specifically Toei Animation's "Odd One Out") one of the Spartans is designated "Spartan 1337"
  • The 2010 Mobile Fighter 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.
    • Conan also at one point ends up on a brief cruise in the company of several other teen detectives, one of whom insistently peppers his speech with gamer-style leet. This is relevant to the extent that it makes him a memorable type of jerk. (Note that this is an attempt at Accent Adaptation; in the original Japanese he just talked in a Hokkaido-area accent.)
  • Frau Kojirou from Robotics;Notes who says things like TY/thx and GTFO.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: STFU!!
  • Salama, the Fairy of Fire in Amagi Brilliant Park, peppers her speech with Japanese Twitter-isms, which kind of makes sense, as she's never seen without her smartphone live-tweeting whatever she's doing online.

    |<0n1Vl1|c 8uX (Comic Books)  
  • ZOMG! A reference to Nextwave's Tabitha plzkthxbye.
  • Hack/Slash had a murderous ghostly tech nerd who called himself D1ab0liq.

     |<0|V|1X+r1p2 (Comic Strips)  
  • In the Nodwick strip in Dragon #291, the gnomes invent a Magitek e-mail system. There's a three-panel montage of the system getting out of control. In the second panel, Artax notes that some of his wizard friends have started using numbers instead of letters and says "I guess that's cute". In the third panel he's shouting "What the heck does 'L33T M@J1XX' mean? What is a 'W00T'? I can't read any of this!"

    |=& \/\/0RX (Fan Works)  
  • Eric Lawson has introduced a new character into his Mega Man Fan Verse, an autistic hacker named Schroeder "Latchkey" Dunlap, who uses a relatively mild version of this.
  • In Pokémon Strangled Red, Steven uses Missingno to bring his Charizard, Miki, Back from the Dead. In doing so, he changes his name to "S!3v3n," and Miki's to "M@#$".
  • The Warhammer 40,000 fanfic Toyhammer features a Cogboy of the Adeptus Mechanicus who starts speaking exclusively in l33t after extended exposure to Counter-Strike.
  • 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.
  • From the Pokémon fangame Pokémon Reborn, you have M3G4 T3RR4, who regularly speaks in a mix of leetspeak, chatspeak, innuendo, and pop culture references.
    Terra: AH! I HEARD ABOUT YOU, <player>! I AM T3RR4, THEY CALL ME THE CIEL TAMER. HAD THAT B!TCh ON HER KNEES, COVERED IN KETCHUP. WH4T. l00k. i aint about that dramatic speech life. but lemme ya a lil' somethin' somethin', ya feel me? IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO IN A GALAXY N0T VERY FAR AWAY 4T ALL. IN FACT IT WAS THIS ONE. THIS GALAXY. R1GHT HER3. THE MILKY TIT. AND $OMETHING TERRIBLE HAPPENED: I GOT B0R3D. sooo i was like awhh yeaaaa lets cause some 4N4RCHY. cuzzzz chaos. is like sex. hot. steamy. rawrsex. and helllllll them meteors be good in bed. and lyk, hbu bby? asl? u have kik? CUZ IMMA K1K UR 4$$ OOO000000

     |_I7 (Literature)  

     1|V 4CTi|\| |=!|_|\/| (Live-Action Film)  

     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.
  • The channel mun2, pronounced in Spanish as "mundos," meaning "worlds."
  • The IT Crowd: The DVD has subtitles in leet. Most episodes just substitute numbers and symbols, but the first episode has some hilarious "geekspeak" translations, like when Denholm Reynholm is saying that the company has a lot of sexy people working there, the subtitle says "We R Natalie Portman"
  • In Elementary, Sherlock annoys Joan by going to extreme forms of this when texting her. He claims that text message abbreviations are the height of concise speech, as they convey information more efficiently. Of course, the issue here is that Joan has trouble deciphering his text messages, so all the efficiency goes out the window. The same episode ends up using this as an Out-of-Character Alert, when Sherlock is kidnapped by the villain of the week. The killer replies to Joan on Sherlock's cell phone but uses normal words and sentences. Joan immediately goes to the police because the text doesn't "read like a teenager on a sugar high."
  • Mr. Robot: each episode title is a file name that often features leet lingo, like "eps1.3_da3m0ns.mp4" and "eps1.4_3xpl0its.wmv." The fourth season gives non-hackers a break by taking titles from error messages, which are much easier to spell and remember. Elliot will sometimes drop common chat lingo into his speech, like "I need to get AFK."
  • A contestant named Kermin in a Jeopardy! College Tournament a while back wagered $1337 in Final Jeopardy. He later explained the reference..

     μ|_|-/_1|< (Music)  
  • This song pretty much defines 1337-5p34k.
  • One Demo Scene module musician had the artist name Tr/\sh (pronounced "trash").
  • All of the tracks on Reanimation.
  • Bella Thorne's TTYLXOX is chocked full of this trope.
  • Many song names of the music of Hiroyuki Sawano are basically this, sometimes at ludicrous levels.
  • The Putin-P song series uses Japanese text slang in its subtitles to convey certain tones, such as orz, w (lol), and some emoji.
  • The title of the song "Levels" by Avicii is stylised as "LE7ELS".
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Word Crimes" mocks that only seven year olds replace letters with numbers — or are Prince.

     |*0[)(4575 (Podcasts)  
  • In Mission to Zyxx Bargie is forced to change her identity. She goes with B4ЯJ13.

     V1D30 94|\/|35 (Video Games)  
  • I MAED A GAM3 W1TH Z0MB1ES 1NIT!!!1.
  • 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).
  • The Freakshow name themselves in l33tspeak in City of Heroes. Even more disconcerting: some of them apparently speak it aloud. Don't think about that too much.
    • 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
    • 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.
  • The L33t Hamm3r Broz. in Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time speak only in leet. This is later parodied after they're freed from Shroob brainwashing. ("Seriously, who talks like that?!") This is a prime example of Woolseyism, as in the original version, they simply spoke in Katakana.
  • 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?" He's eventually pressured by Edgeworth in court to speak mostly normally while testifying.
  • The MMORPG Anarchy Online features ratlike creatures called "Leets" who sometimes spout leet-speak.
  • Persona 3 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 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.
  • In Star Wars: Republic Commando, Scorch will occasionally say "Nobody can match my l33t h4x0r skills!" when hacking a terminal.
  • In No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, Kimmy Howell says that Travis should read her letter "just for lulz".
  • In DoDonPachi, Hibachi's theme in Daifukkatsu is ]-[|/34<#!, which is "HIBACHI." Yeah...
  • Yuzu in Devil Survivor uses Leet Lingo in all her mails.
  • One of the pre-made Sims in The Sims 3 is a computer nerd called "Cycl0n3 Sw0rd".
  • The newscaster in Galactic Civilizations II drops into this for one of the miniaturization upgrades.
  • One of the enemies in Bookworm Adventures Vol. 2 speak in this. Unsurprisingly, the team was in a virtual world. The enemy was named Rogue Hacker.
  • Perfect Dark includes an unlockable version of the Klobb gun from GoldenEye (1997), renamed the "KL01313". Also, in the Attack Ship level, the information screen for Cassandra de Vries' necklace displays the message "Password: I8MOZYM8NDI8S".
  • Zer0'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).
  • Crash Bandicoot: 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.
  • Dariusburst has the Final Boss track "Hello 31337", meant to be read as "Hello Elite".
  • Matt Miller of Saints Row: The Third uses "R4gn0r0k" as his hacker alias. An assassination mission also has "Pr0t1p", who had a hit put out on him by "00BER1337" for pwning him one too many times in PvP.
  • In Fleuret Blanc, Junior uses chatspeak when communicating through the e-Virtuelle.
  • Clarence's Big Chance: Clarence and his boss talk in chatspeak.
  • Overwatch: One of Tracer's skins has her wearing a stop watch around her neck set to the time "13:37."
  • Common among hackers in Hypnospace Outlaw, though more often used for naming than communication. There's the malevolent, immature T1MAGEDDON, the more disciplined hacker group M1NX the aforementioned is trying to join, and the allseeing3y3 program the latter uses, for example.
  • Fashion Police Squad has a boss named Xx_UwU_Senpai_SwagMan_xX whose dialogue has some e's replaced with 3, Os replaced with 0s and has Z in plurals.
  • Squaredle: If you enter "LEET", you get "l33t (bonus!)" in response.
  • Live A Live has the Mother Computer of the Cogito Ergo Sum in the Distant Future chapter, which is referred to by the crew as "Decimus". Its true name is OD-10, which serves as a red flag for the player if this is their second or third chapter since it follows the "Odio" naming convention as the previous chapter antagonists, hinting to the true overarching story.
  • Squid, the fourth wall-breaking evil AI antagonist of the platformer Will You Snail?, peppers his speech with internet slang. He will sometimes say "lol" or call the player a noob, and his subtitles also sometimes include emoticons (of which he pronounces "<3" out loud as "smaller than three").
    Squid: You almost had it. Lol. That would make me rage quit for sure.

     \/\/E8 4n|\/|4z|-||_|N (Web Animation) 
  • The character Player from the machinima series The 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.
  • The name {SuP4hl33tk1LLa} CaP-a-CoP (spelling varied) is recycled in videos by director Xanatos. Also parodied in a frag movie in Gman Squad episode 7
  • Mortuus from Oxhorn Short Shorts has this as a persistent Verbal Tic (yes, he pronounces the leetspeak aloud). "Lol omg wtg dairy queen lol omg bbtheq..."
  • The optional subtitles in Arfenhouse: The Movie are mostly rendered in LOLspeak. In Arfenhouse Teh Movie Too, the subtitles aren't optional (though "LOLOLOLOLOL" is spoken as "HA HA HA HA HA"). The only exception is the Only Sane Man Joe, whose lines are written in perfect English.
  • Teen Girl Squad:
    • The 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 Cheat has been known to use this on occasion as well.
  • The Wrath of Giga Bowser: The video ends with the phrase "Roy has TEH PH1R3!!" shown on screen.

     \/\/E8 C0|\/|1C2 (Web Comics) 
  • 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 Speak Internet 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.
  • R.A.M. the Robot peppers a bit into the character's speech balloons, mostly shortening "you" to "u" and "your" to "ur" and the like.
  • Saturn and his parents from Star Guys only speak in n00b. Considering that they're an 'unusual' family, this isn't really surprising.
  • In Sequential Art, squirrely "organic procesors" are called #5C4RL37, #V10L37, #4M83R and #J4D3.
  • Several of the troll kids from Homestuck speak in either this manner or their own unique spelling patterns. Some of the symbol substitutions:
    • Aradia replaces 'o' with '0' to sh0w her emptiness.
    • Terezi types in all caps and the numbers 4, 1 and 3, TO R3PR3S3NT H3R 1NT3NT1ON4LLY 4NNOY1NG P3RSON4L1TY. (The number 413 is significant in Homestuck).
    • Vriska replaces the letter 'b' and the sound 'ate' with '8', 8ecause she's associ8ed with spiders. When she gets really flustered, she st8ps c8ring a8out wh8re sh8 p8ts 8n the 8s.
    • 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, PR0848LY 7H3 CL05357 70 FULL L337 7H3 C0M1C W1LL 3V3R G37.
    • Roxy also likes to use le leet speak once in a while
  • 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 best… But it certainly led to one of the oddest jazz ensembles ever… Prawn suits and saxophones indeed.
  • Schlock Mercenary got a punny/multilingual version as one of Naming Conventions for AI, with an AI named "5er0" pronounced "Vernon" using Roman numerals..
  • Unichat uses this in a couple usernames, but it's absent from the main text. Pre-reboot, sentientconspirator typed in extreme leet.
  • Follower has Geedy and Dia. It's not used by them, but their formal designations are G1D33.23-3 and G2D12.57-17.

     \/\/E8 0R1Gi|\|41 (Web Original)  
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Whateley Universe: Amelia Hartford: Her codename, which she keeps hidden from the students but still uses professionally, is a pun on her last name ('Deer Cross' -> 'Hart Ford') written in 133t.
  • This video from 2009 shows two teens speaking like this while buying foam.

     \/\/E8 \/1D30 (Web Video) 
  • 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..."
  • Kitboga is a scambaiter popular on YouTube and Twitch. He often ends the number of his checking accounts on his fake bank in 1337, generally the only number shown, since the website of a typical bank will only show the last four digits. He will also sometimes use this as the last four digits of other numbers requested by the scammers, such as a Social Security Number.

     \/\/35T3R|\| 4n|\/|4z|-||_|N (Western Animation) 
  • Transformers: Animated brings us The Headmaster, and in his wake follows total ownage. Given that Animated is set in the 22nd century, it's really no surprise that no one has any idea what he's talking about.
  • Sierra from Total Drama

    ;R| (Real Life) 
  • Most modern security systems require you to include at least one number and symbol in your password, so using this trope is an easy way to include them in a password that would otherwise just be a word or phrase. For example, "P4$5\/\/0r|)" is "password" made more complicated by leet speak.
  • In January 2011, Funimation tried to sue 1337 Bittorrent users over downloading One Piece, the number no doubt chosen intentionally.
  • Wil Wheaton, Paul and Storm, and Adam Savage put on a music and comedy show for geeks called "W00tstock."
  • Filipinos do this through Jejemon.
  • R!OT; one of effects company Method Studios' many siblings.
  • Canadian postal codes always follow the pattern of Letter-Number-Letter Number-Letter-Number, and are laid out similarly to British postcodes, being comprised of two pairs of three characters separated by a space. For example, A2A 2A2 is the postal code for Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland & Labrador. The postal code for Santa Claus? H0H 0H0. note 
  • The course code for the first programming course in the Computer Science programme at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden is DD1337. This is coincidental.
  • In 2012, Deadmau5 released a "speaker thingy" officially nicknamed "1337 5p34k3r" (leet speaker).
  • The Vietnamese equivalent is called "teencode" and follows similar conventions. In addition to the need for convenience and speed while typing on handheld devices, the mobile devices for the generations that developed and used teencode didn't have diacritical marks, which are very important in Viet and can cause sentences to be disastrously misinterpreted if left off. For example, "Quên em rồi à?" (Did you forget me?) is rendered into "Qu3n^ 3m r0j` ah???", while "Quen em roi a?" can be misinterpreted as "Did you get to know me?"
  • The Martian language for Chinese. As there are thousands of Chinese characters all with unique shapes, this gives a huge array of possible mutations.

Alternative Title(s): Leet Speak, Leet Speek, L33t L1ng 0