What Does HOAY Mean in a Text?

HOAY means "How Old Are You?" The abbreviation HOAY is typically used as a straightforward question, asked to determine someone's age. In this context, it is most commonly found on dating websites and apps.

HOAY can also be used as a rhetorical question. In this context, it is often used as an expression of amusement, exasperation or disbelief. For example:
  • Clare: I can't sleep without my cuddly toys in the bed.
  • Rose: Really? HOAY?
  • (Here HOAY expresses mild amusement.)
  • Tom: I daren't ask the boss for a raise. He might shout at me.
  • Jane: HOAY? Get in there now!
  • (Here HOAY expresses exasperation.)

    Image for HOAY

    When I write HOAY, I mean this:

    meaning of HOAY

    HOAY? doesn't always require an answer.

    Summary of Key Points

    "How Old Are You?" is the most common definition for HOAY on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
    Definition:How Old Are You?
    Guessability:guessability level 3
    3: Guessable
    Typical Users:typical user

    Adults, Teenagers, and Under 13s

    Examples of HOAY in Sentences

    Here are examples of HOAY being used in conversations:
    • Alice: I could meet you in Manchester on Saturday.
    • Ryan: That sounds good. HOAY?
    • Alice: Age is just a number.
    • Ryan: An important one in this case.
    • Sam: Can I have your picture so I can show Santa what I want for Christmas?
    • Ella: That's so cheesy. HOAY?

    An Academic Look at HOAY

    HOAY plays the role of an interrogative sentence (i.e., a question), but it is commonly seen without a question mark. In other words, it can be written "HOAY?" or "HOAY".

    HOAY is an initialism abbreviation. Technically, this means it is pronounced using its individual letters (i.e., "Aitch Oh Ay Why"), but it is not often spoken using its letters. In other words, the abbreviation HOAYis for efficiency in writing and not efficiency in speech.

    What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

    Before the digital era, we might have just said "How Old Are You?" or something like "Grow Up!" instead of using HOAY.

    Example of HOAY Used in a Text

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