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1337 5p34|< (or LeetSpeak, often shortened just to 1337) is a slang language developed on Usenet and expanded upon in the murky world of IRC. It is primarily a written language. Basically, 1337 is a system whereby certain letters are replaced either by numbers or symbols which look (vaguely, sometimes _very_ vaguely) like the letter being replaced. One of the contributing factors to the evolution of 1337 was the desire to circumvent language filters; instead of writing _shit_ which might be blocked, you could write 5h1t (and there are endless variations 5|-|17, sh1+, $[~]!'][', esch1tt, which they gradually get more and more indecipehrable as you go along) without fear of being censored.

1337is used in several different contexts. The name of the language 1337(sometimes spelt _31337_) is a corruption of the word _elite_. This suggests that it was originally used as a private language between people who were more _elite_ than others. This is the case. If someone says to you "j00 r n0t 1337!"they're saying "_you sir, despite whatever notions you may have to the contrary, are decidedly ass-faced_".

These days, conversational 1337is less common. Gamers still use 1337in online gaming, and if you get ripped to shreds in a game of CounterStrike, you can count on hearing something along the lines of "_'kekekeke! j00 r t3h 5u[|<135t n00b th4+ e\/4r (|^4vv13|) 0ff AOL!!!!11!!oneone!eleven! PWN£D!_'" which translates as "_Hard luck, old bean; you'll do better next time, I don't doubt it!_"

Note also that outside the contexts outlined above, LeetSpeak is often used ironically or to mock others. For example, almost all LeetSpeak on the Intersocs IRC Network is used in this manner. These days, you are most likely to see 1337used as an in-joke between an assembled group of PowerNerds (TM).

h2. 1337 Spellings

As you may have noticed 1337uses numbers and symbols to replace letters, but often there is a re-spelling of word involved too (eg. 1337 which is equal to _leet_ in fact translates as _elite_). There are no rules to define how this works, but it is generally phonetic. In re-spelling words, there is a preference for those letters on the keyboard that are awesome, but sadly underused, like _j_, _x_ and _z_. Thus 'you' becomes _'j00_, 'hacks' becomes _h4x_ (A common refrain amongst those who feel they have been cheated in an online game or that technological trickery is going on in some way) and illegal-software becomes _warez_ or indeed _juarez_ (after a city in Mexico).

h3. Pwn

_Pwn_ is a common intentional misspelling of "own", a term indicating domination of something or someone. For those unfortunate enough to want/need to pronounce the word, the pronunciation can be either "own" or "pown" (they rhyme). The term 0wn (with a zero) is frequently understood to mean the unauthorised compromise of a computer's security.

h3. n00b

_n00b_ is possibly one of the weightiest insults in leetspeak. The literal translation is "newbie", and it is used to refer to both those who are literally "new" with the scene in question (frequently gaming, but is applicable elsewhere), and also to insult those who in fact do know what they are doing but have slipped up somehow, either by making a silly mistake or saying something that betrays a lack of knowledge. Use with care.

h3. w00t

_w00t_ is quite a difficult concept to describe, as after many years in the wilds of the Internet, w00t has mutated from a four letter word into a meme of sorts. Without getting into intense debate, suffice to say that it indicates jubilation of sorts, either as a good natured cheer of excitement or as a modifier for insults, when combined with terms like _n00b_, amplifying their effectiveness

h3. Z

If a word ends in s, then that s is generally replaced by a z.

  • Examples*
  • j0, th1s g4m3 r00lz! = _This game is thouroughly enjoyable_
  • th4+ w4s a p13c3 0f p1zz = _That was very easy_
  • th1s 5h0uld b3 f4irlee 0bviouz = _I hope you get this by now_

h3. t3h

Quite simply, t3h iz the 1337 for "_teh_", which in turn iz a typo of "_the_". It iz considered Bad Form to write t3h any other way. That iz all.

h3. 0r(z)

One of the most obviouz, yet least easily explained of these 1337 idiomz iz finishing a word with _0r_ or _0rz_.  It matterz not whether the word is a noun, a verb or even someone's name, anything can have _0rz_ added to it to make it 1337.
  • Examples*
  • j0, 3y3 r 1337 h4x0r= _Hey, I'm an elite hacker_
  • n00bs r t3h sux0r= _Newbies suck_
  • my b0xx0r is t3h r0><0r!!!11!!oneone! = _My computer rules!_

It's often used as a form of emphasis. _th1s r0><0rz_ is stronger than _th1s r0x_. 0rz is much more versatile than that though.

h3. ar for er

Often in 1337, _er_ in a word will be replaced by _ar_. Usage is sometimes used to illustrate that the writer isn't exactly the sharpest spoon in the shed.

  • Examples*

  • intarw3b = _internet_
  • 5up4r!!! = _super_
  • 3y3 <3 my c0mputar = _I love my computer_

h2. Finally...

There are many, many more comprehensive discussions of 1337 available online, not to mention programs that will convert plain-text to 1337 (but unfortunately for those new to 1337, none that work in the opposite direction). If you come across an indecipherable stream of text, you can take one of two conclusions from it

  • Either whoever wrote it is very accomplished at making their 1337 illegible, in which case, it's safe to assume that they're a massive tool.
  • Something weird has happened to their keyboard (check [http//www.bash.org/?74966 this] example out).

If there's anything you're still uncertain about, ask someone. But be warned, any response you get may be along the lines of "OMGWTFBBQ!!! STFU n00b!"...

3nj0y j00r n00 1337 l1f3!

h2. See Also

h2. External Links

http//www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=1337&btnG=Search http//www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=%22leet+speak%22&btnG=Search http//www.google.com/intl/xx-hacker/ (Google in @1337@)
http//www.microsoft.com/athome/security/children/kidtalk.mspx (funny as all hell)