What Does OBTW Mean in a Text?

OBTW means "Oh, By The Way." It is an abbreviation used to signal a change of subject in a conversation.

The phrase "Oh, By The Way" is typically used to introduce a new and often less important topic into a conversation. In this respect, it means almost exactly the same as the abbreviation BTW (By The Way), but the inclusion of the word "Oh" probably indicates that the sender has just thought of something they want to mention. However, OBTW is also often used as a preamble to important news, usually when that news was the real reason for getting in touch. For example:
  • OBTW, I heard that they are going to reopen the cinema next month. Have you heard anything?
  • (Here, OBTW probably indicates that the sender has just remembered the news about the cinema.)
  • OBTW, I saw Sue with Chris last night. Have you two split up?
  • (Here, OBTW probably indicates that the sighting of Sue and Chris was the genuine reason for getting in touch.)

Image for OBTW

When I write OBTW, I mean this:

meaning of OBTW

OBTW indicates a change of subject.

Summary of Key Points

"Oh, By The Way" is the most common definition for OBTW on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:Oh, By The Way
Guessability:guessability level 2
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Examples of OBTW in Sentences

Here are examples of OBTW being used in conversations:
  • Cherie: Did you get to the hairdresser today?
  • Mel: Yes. OBTW, did you know they're moving next month?
  • Carol: How's your head?
  • Sian: Terrible! What a party!
  • Carol: You're right about that. OBTW, the boss said I should thank you for the offer, but he's married and, anyway, you're not his type.

An Academic Look at OBTW

OBTW is an initialism abbreviation. This means it is pronounced using its individual letters (i.e., Oh Bee Tee Dublyoo). However, it is not usually spoken using its letters. The abbreviation OBTW is actually for efficiency in writing, rather than efficiency in speech.

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we might have said "Oh, By The Way," or something like "While we're on the subject," instead of using the abbreviation OBTW.

Example of OBTW Used in a Text

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