Anne Marie Hamilton AHami93942 at AOL.COM
Fri Sep 5 17:15:35 UTC 2003

My husband is interested in the etymology of the word "pwn" used in online gaming to denote "ownership" of a person. A list of comments on that subject by PlanetSide members follows. Any additional ideas or evidence in support of the ideas presented below?


Anne Marie Hamilton-Brehm
Digital Library of Georgia

Original query:

Was wondering if someone could please bring me up to speed on what appears to be an important piece of jargonology, "pwn".
First, how do you pronounce it?

Second, what *exactly* does it mean? From context, it appears to be a particulary humiliating form of being "owned". And the latter appears to be a reference to slavery?

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

PlanetSide Member

  posted 09-03-2003 10:41 AM           user search     report post
Teh prigin pf "pwn" cpmes frpm teh fact taht pn teh keybpardz teh keyz fpr 'p' iz right next tp 'o'.
After a while it simply became l33tz0r.

PlanetSide Member

  posted 09-03-2003 11:54 AM           user search     report post
to put it a bit more clearly:
to have "owned" someone is to basically kicked their ass. "pwned" is the same thing as "owned" but since the the p key is right by the o key people commonly typed the word "pwned" instead of "owned" as somewhere down the line it became "cool" to use "pwn" in place of "own"

PlanetSide Member

  posted 09-03-2003 01:06 PM           user search     report post
It is evolving constantly.
I think "pwnt" is the most effective own that can be dealt.
level 65!!!

PlanetSide Member

  posted 09-03-2003 01:33 PM           user search     report post
I was always told that the "p" stood for PLAYER

If you were pwn'd you were "Player Owned"


You showed such a lack of skill (or the other player showed so much skill) that you were that players b*tch.

Although this is a term I have never personally used, that's the way it was explaned to me after I was called that many, many times.

PlanetSide Member

  posted 09-04-2003 10:40 AM           user search     report post
Ok guys Im gonna clear this up for everyone once and for all. I hear this question alot and noone ever seems to know the correct answer.
Today the word "Pwnd" is used when someone suffers a humiliating defeat. I.E. Pure + Ownage = Pwnage. BUT! This is not where the word originated.

Many people believe that pwned came from a sloppy typer who accidently hit the "p" key when trying to spell Own. (Being that the "p" is adjacent to the "o" key)

This is the true origin of PWNED! and it may dissapoint some of you.

PWN! is the sound that the nailgun makes in the old game Quake. and you would be considered a super newb if you ever died by it! I.E.

Nailgunuser08: "HAHAHA your ass got PWNED! Newb!"
NewbwhogotPwned: "SHUT UP PHAG!"

I hope this clarifys things for you people. The meaning is the same as people think, but not many know the true origin. now you know! Spread the knowledge!

PlanetSide Member

  posted 09-04-2003 04:34 PM           user search     report post
You're all wrong (execpt maybe the quake guy) it came from a WCII map in which if you lost it was supposed say "you got owned," but instead said "you got pwned"
BTW: this was a pretty popular map.

PlanetSide Member   posted 09-04-2003 08:58 PM           user search     report post
you gus are ghey

PlanetSide Member

  posted 09-05-2003 04:50 AM           user search     report post
Don't forget "pwnz0rd."

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