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Mumsnet acronyms

(20 Posts)

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peterjames Thu 25-Feb-16 21:55:58


Can anyone explain the background to not calling a husband a husband, a daughter a daughter, son a son etc on mumsnet?
I've bumped into these forums a few times and am not a regular (or, god forbid, a mother - being a male) - and couldn't help but notice how those relations, which have a proper name, somehow get mummisised into Dear-everything - seemingly for no reason at all (but to feel accepted, or soften them down or something - which is what I'm trying to understand as it seems bizarre to me).

Really looking to understand the psychology of it, not the form or protocol - why would anyone feel obliged to call a husband Dear Husband - is it to feel more proper by being subservient, or to prove they think of them as 'dear' and hence are a good person by implication?

Asking especially since customary use such as 'DH' implies the need to be proving the husband is dearly beloved - and seeing that in mass use usually signifies it is actually not the case at all, but rather a way to adopt rose tinted glasses where we will all pretend we love our husbands and all others (so we can all feel like good little wives - presumably a badge that grants certain status)

Is that it (as strange as such subservience would seem to a man - and this is from a background of having equal women, who'd never act like the custom seems here, since my interest)?

DonkeyOaty Thu 25-Feb-16 22:03:08


1 DH etc, all existing before MN was created, adopted as already in common useage around ye olde chate roomes. Used as a firm of shorthand really

2 Subservient HAHAHA


DonkeyOaty Thu 25-Feb-16 22:03:45


Beg pardon.

PacificDogwod Thu 25-Feb-16 22:05:03

'DH' as opposed to 'STBHX' or simply 'H', you mean? V handy shorthand to convey a relationship if you ask me.

Otherwise just grin

peterjames Thu 25-Feb-16 22:23:49

so why not H by default if it's to shorthand?

asking for meaning and some deeper thought, so 'we've always done it that way' peer pressure/snarky sort of thing not particularly welcome (though knock yourself out if you have to vent frustration for someone actually thinking)

PresidentOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Feb-16 22:24:30

This IS an interesting question, we will move it to site stuff.
As Donkey says, pretty sure that the shorthand came from other sites and was a handy shorthand which helped move discussions along with anonymity.

PresidentOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Feb-16 22:25:48

Quick wiki link has SOME academic refs here huh

PacificDogwod Thu 25-Feb-16 22:26:29

so why not H by default if it's to shorthand?

Because the presence or absence of the 'D' tells you something.

I have no idea why chatrooms started this, but I can see the point.

PacificDogwod Thu 25-Feb-16 22:27:34

Who elected you President btw, Olivia, hm? <squinty eyes>

Interesting link though. You may continue to preside over us <gracious>

Wardrobespierre Thu 25-Feb-16 22:29:16

It's because two letters scan better than one and is common on the internet in general.

People don't actually read it as "dear". It simply represents the implied person. You can think of it as dingbat or doddery if you prefer.

It has no patriarchal meaning. It's just a scanning, accessibility thing which handily, also signifies community. It's a common language.

IamtheZombie Thu 25-Feb-16 22:37:07

Zombie thinks Rob Lowe may have had something to do with that, Pacific. But, as you know, TSSDNCOP.

SanityClause Thu 25-Feb-16 22:38:59

I always find the "D" a bit ironic. I first encountered it on an 11+ site, so to me DC was a bit like saying my precious first born (Or PFB).

A bit like the way people say "darling" to denote a level of pretension.

And it's internet shorthand, and fairly universally understood.

Incidentally, people with wives usually note them as DW, so does this denote subservience to a wife? (Surely not! - gasp!)

PresidentOliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 25-Feb-16 23:23:38


Zombie thinks Rob Lowe may have had something to do with that, Pacific. But, as you know, TSSDNCOP.

Twas from here and I think I will keep it (y'know in honour of the US election) grin

QuerkyJo Fri 26-Feb-16 07:53:18

I always use OH, I wonder what that says about me. Maybe 47 years of marriage who knows?

Queenbean Fri 26-Feb-16 07:57:09

I hate the "dear" thing. I agree that two letters scans better than on, but it is really not that much of a time saver to type out the word. Particularly mum instead of DM.

It gets ridiculous when people write ddog2 or dsil- WHY JUST WHY. Not everyone has to be bloody dear.

And especially dstbxh - he is clearly not dear then is he!

CallieTorres Fri 26-Feb-16 08:01:20

I think the D works because it shows what mood you are in with your partner/child

Ie not so 'd' h, or (d) h... Tells you a lot

I don't think it's subservient, I think that says more about the person reading it than the author

Quietwhenreading Fri 26-Feb-16 08:04:07

You are over thinking this IMO.

Personally there is no hidden subtext in my usage of these acronyms- it's just a short hand convention, well understood in this, and other online communities.

It's not obligatory, lots of posters use 'husband', 'partner', or 'wife' as they prefer it.

I find your response to pacific and donkey far more "snarky" rudethan there's to you. You are perfectly entitled to look for deeper meaning in this - that doesn't mean that there is any.

peterjames Thu 03-Mar-16 22:26:23

Great reference, thanks PresidentOliviaMumsnet - this is exactly the angle I was after - what social function the D bit has, as there usually is one in colloquial speak of any kind (helps understand how the community views the world - which is also what I'm trying to grasp (not being a mum, not being in the UK now, and coming from a different culture altogether to begin with))

Much appreciated!

peterjames Thu 03-Mar-16 22:28:13


It does carry an implied meaning in the context I've read - maybe you don't use it, or are not aware of it - but it strikes me as fairly different to the usual social norm I've witnessed in the UK.

peterjames Thu 03-Mar-16 22:34:00

Subservient to a certain norm if not the person - I'd think the other way around, if a DW it is with implied 'I respect her'.

The wiki link describes it well - when used for real, it would show actual closeness (but then people who are for real don't tend to make a point of including Dear - it is by all means understood if you actually are in that marriage or relationship, Husband or Wife just reads as someone you love/like/admire etc)

The tone can't be heard on forums, so it could be sarcastic, to vent frustration or so..

The third use, to reaffirm a social role, is what puzzles me (maybe because I tend to analyse rather than accept those)

In any case, apart from a few peer-pressure-you-must-respect-and-not-question dogmatic comments - very helpful, thanks guys/gals.

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