Grant Barrett gbarrett at WORLDNEWYORK.ORG
Thu Jun 21 04:19:53 UTC 2001

On mercredi 20 juin 2001 21:18, GSCole <gscole at ARK.SHIP.EDU> wrote:
>Would appreciate some information about the use of the word 'heh' in
>chat rooms.  I've looked in various online sources, including several
>guides to chat room terminology and a couple online dictionaries, but
>cannot find a definition or translation of 'heh'.  It seems to be a
>greeting, per the commentary presented below.  I might sound like the
>typical clueless bozo old guy (per a concern expressed below), but I
>would still like to have a better understanding of the

Got some more undisciplined thoughts for you, George.

The online "heh" is laughter in the short answer. In the long answer, it's a chuckle
without humor, maybe with a bit of malice, irony or sarcasm added. Kind of like when
the bad guy in the movies goes "Heh heh heh" malevolently, menacingly or with a
glimmer in his eyes of plans to undo the hero.

In your quote, it means, "you thought you were so clever, well look now." Gibson's
explanation agrees. [Tangent: that transcript excerpt comes from an excellent,
excellent bit of writing about a man, Gibson, catching trojan horse planters who go about
instigating denial of service attacks. Very good read, though perhaps a bit
technical.'] Used as an intro like that is about the only thing to say, like clearing your
throat to get someone's attention without actually having to address them.

In other contexts, "heh" is used after an obvious joke or pun, a particularly
gratuitous insult or bold statement that can't be backed up, when one is a "first post" in
a forum, when one has topped a particular contest (formal or informal), taken up the
reins of someone else's troll or standard boilerplate irrelevant post, or after a
successful smackdown in a heated debate. Heh signifies victory, success, big dog status,
recognition owed, props due.

Those are my thoughts, anyway. I've often meant to post about "heh" to the list, but
just never could justify it.

An older online guffaw that is disappearing is "haw haw." Used to be common, but I
don't know where it's gone.

Grant Barrett
gbarrett at worldnewyork.org
78 South Third Street Apt. No. 1
Brooklyn, NY 11211
718 384 8271

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