What Does 187 Mean in a Text?

The number 187 (pronounced "one-eight-seven" or "one eighty-seven") is used as a synonym for the word "Murder." It refers to Section 187 of the California Penal Code, which defines the crime of murder. Because of this connection to homicide, 187 features prominently in gang culture, music, and even mainstream movies. For example:
  • Some gang members have the number 187 tattooed on their body, as a boast that they have been involved in murder.
  • 187 was the alternative name for "Deep Cover," a single released by rap artist Dr. Dre in 1992. The track features Snoop Dogg and was recorded for the soundtrack of the movie "Deep Cover," starring Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum, about undercover police work in Los Angeles.
  • Dr. Dre Feat. Snoop Dogg - Deep Cover (WARNING - EXPLICIT LYRICS!)

  • One-Eight-Seven was the title of a 1997 movie, starring Samuel L. Jackson, as a schoolteacher in Los Angeles.
  • 187 Strassenbande (German for "187 Streetgang" and also known as "187 Allstars") is a German Hip-Hop collective, joining a number of German rappers, mostly based in Hamburg. In 2015, the band accompanied the group Wu-Tang Clan on their tour of Germany.
  • 187 Allstars 2017 (Jambeatz)

Image for 187

When I write 187, I mean this:

meaning of 187

Section 187 of the California Penal Code relates to "Murder."

Summary of Key Points

"Murder" is the most common definition for 187 on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Type:Internet Slang Term
Guessability:guessability level 5
5: Extremely difficult to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Examples of 187 in Sentences

Here are examples of 187 being used in conversations:
  • Karl: What are all the blue lights for?
  • Tyrone: There's been a 187. A dealer got taken out.
  • Dane: Ready for a kicking in Grand Theft Auto later?
  • Ricky: I'm going to 187 your ass!

An Academic Look at 187

187 is classified as a internet slang term (as opposed to an initialism abbreviation or an acronym). Initially, "internet slang terms" were introduced for brevity, but, particularly with the advent of predictive texting and on-screen keyboards, they are now mostly employed for fun. "Slang terms" differ from icons because they are not pictorial representations.

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we would have just said "Murder" instead of using 187.

Using Numbers in Texts

This video shows the different ways that numbers are used in "text speak":

Example of 187 Used in a Text

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