What Does KYS Mean?

The abbreviation KYS has a number of meanings, including "Kill Yourself," "Keep Yourself Safe," and "Know Your Students." Here is more information about each of these definitions of KYS.

Kill Yourself

The abbreviation KYS is most commonly used with the meaning "Kill Yourself." KYS is not normally meant to be as mean or nasty as it sounds. It is typically used jokingly or sarcastically and should not be taken literally. Usually. KYS is just a friendly way of expressing exasperation with something that has been said. It typically implies that the comment was silly or inappropriate.

In this context, KYS is similar in meaning to abbreviations such as GAC (Get A Clue), GAL (Get A Life) and GKY (Go Kill Yourself).

Keep Yourself Safe

KYS is also used with the meaning "Keep Yourself Safe." This definition of KYS was almost certainly only invented as an alternative to "Kill Yourself," by someone shocked at the apparent meanness of the more popular definition, or someone joking about what KYS actually means. In either case, "Keep Yourself Safe" can now be considered a valid definition of KYS.

As with the meanings of many abbreviations, context is key to understanding what is actually meant.

Know Your Students

In the field of education, KYS is often used by teachers, with the meaning "Know Your Students." In this context, it refers to the importance of ensuring classes are tailored to the audience.

Image for KYS

When I write KYS, I mean this:

meaning of KYS

KYS is usually meant jokingly. It can also mean "Keep Yourself Safe" and "Know Your Students."

Summary of Key Points

"Kill Yourself" is the most common definition for KYS on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram.
Definition:Kill Yourself
Guessability:guessability level 3

3: Guessable

Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Second Definition for KYS

"Keep Yourself Safe" is another definition for KYS.
Definition:Keep Yourself Safe
Guessability:guessability level 4
4: Difficult to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Third Definition of KYS

KYS also means "Know Your Students."
Definition:Know Your Students
Guessability:guessability level 4
4: Difficult to guess
Typical Users:typical user


Examples of KYS in Sentences

Here are examples of KYS being used in conversations:
  • Alan: I don't see what adults get out of playing video games.
  • Becky: That's because you have no imagination and are so crap at them.
  • Alan: Uff! That hurt. KYS.
  • Becky: That's sweet. Well you KYS.

  • (Here, KYS is being used to mean both "Kill Yourself" and "Keep Yourself Safe.")
  • Sam: I am going to introduce the class to Shakespeare tomorrow.
  • Kylie: What? You're teaching lifers in San Quentin. KYS!

  • (Here, KYS is being used with the meaning "Know Your Students.")

An Academic Look at KYS

When used with the meanings "Kill Yourself" or "Keep Yourself safe," KYS is an imperative (i.e., an order). However, as it should not be taken seriously, it is an example of figurative language.

KYS is an acronym (i.e., an abbreviation spoken like a word). It can be pronounced similarly to the word kiss. However, it is not normally used in speech. KYS is an abbreviation typically used for efficiency in text-based messaging rather than for efficiency in oral communication. Acronyms differ from initialism abbreviations, which are pronounced using their individual letters.

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we might have said something like "Go kill yourself" or "Go take a jump," instead of using KYS to mean "Kill Yourself.".

Example of KYS Used in a Text


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