What does “YMMV” stand for and how is it used?.
The YMMV initialism is common online. You will see it frequently on social media and in text messages and website comments. Not sure what it means? That’s why we’re here!
What does that mean?
YMMV stands for “your mileage may (or could) vary.” This acronym is often used to refer to the differences between people’s experiences, preferences, or locations. It’s similar to AFAIK: “as far as I know”.
It’s also a pretty common phrase in real-world conversations. The literal version, which refers to the actual gas mileage a vehicle gets, is a helpful disclaimer. Even if two people drive the same car, they may get different fuel efficiencies based on their driving habits.
Unlike other initials, which were invented and cultivated on the Internet, “Your Mileage May Vary” dates back to the 1970s and 1980s in the United States. During that time, automakers frequently promoted their mileage estimates for racing.
However, due to variations in driving conditions, they had no way of guaranteeing the exact mileage customers would get. Therefore, these ads would include the disclaimer, “Your mileage may vary.”
This phrase continued to be used in general conversation and eventually became a common American idiom. It probably became an initialism in the 1990s or 2000s, when people started shortening language on Internet platforms such as Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and Instant Messaging (IM).
YMMV usage continued to grow, and now you’ll often see it in Yelp and Amazon reviews, tweets, and message boards.
Comparison of products and services
You’ll often see YMMV in online product reviews and buyer’s guides. In this context, reviewers try to temper reader expectations, as personal experiences with the same product may vary.
If you’re writing a mobile phone review, for example, you might say, “battery life generally lasted all day, but YMMV.” This implies that the battery life will depend on your usage habits. If the screen and mobile data are on frequently, it is likely that the battery will drain much faster.
You can also apply this phrase to products or services that may not be completely consistent for every purchase. For example, if you order food through an app, the quality of the food at delivery is likely to vary, depending on how far you are from the restaurant. So “your mileage may vary” depending on your address.
The shopping experience
In addition to differences in products and services, YMMV can also apply to the actual shopping experience. An example would be if someone says they managed to get a discount code for a shopping site sent to their email. Not everyone may get that code, so that person might say “your mileage may vary.”
For another example, let’s say someone posts on a message board that a particular video game is 50% off at your local Best Buy. While this is useful information, there are plenty of Best Buys in the US, and the game may not be discounted at all.
YMMV would work in this situation to point out that people need to manage their expectations.
differences of opinion
Another common use of YMMV is to account for differences of opinion, especially when discussing arts and entertainment. If you recommend a scary horror movie, you might say, “I thoroughly enjoyed how scary this movie was, but YMMV.” This implies that you are taking into account people’s varying tolerance for frights.
This is the kinder version of IMO (“in my opinion”) or IMHO (“in my humble (or honest) opinion”), respectively. In this usage, YMMV conveys that tastes can vary wildly from person to person.
How to use YMMV
“Your Mileage May Vary” is pretty easy to use. If you’re having trouble, change it to “but your experience may be different” and you’ll get essentially the same meaning.
Here are some ways you can use YMMV:
This laptop feels quite heavy in the hand, but YMMV.
I managed to get the $5 deal around noon at my local branch, but YMMV.
I love the band’s new album, but YMMV.
YMMV, but it took about four days for the package to arrive.
Do you want to know other terms online? Check out SMH and TBH below!