I have heard my friend talk about being AFK on a Minecraft server, but I have not heard it being used in single player so I assume it refers to online gaming but i don't know what it means and what it stands for.

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    I did not downvote but I just want to say that I think it is a bad question because it shows poor research. just googling "What does AFK mean?" would give your answer very fast. Questions on stackexchange should only be posted if you couldn't find it easily via google or some other way.
    – Ivo
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 10:47
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    Right now, googling "What does AFK mean?" gets you the answer from this page, shown right on the google results page. So, while I agree that this question shows a lack of research, it makes it so future googlers have an easier time. So overall, a positive thing, I think.
    – Tim S.
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 11:44
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    This question makes me feel old. I remember asking it in the 80s when I logged on to the only BBS in town that had enough phone lines to host a chat room for the first time. :(
    – Josh
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 12:31
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    @TimS. That's because Google ranks the StackExchange network highly on their search results. Also, "What does AFK mean?" is a very specific term, that quickly matches with the title given. Just searching for "AFK" makes this page appear on the bottom of the 3rd page. It's positive, sure, but it's also a lack of research, considering Wikipedia or even the OP's friend could have told him about it. Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 12:50
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    This question is the very definition of lack of research. -1
    – childe
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 14:10

5 Answers 5


AFK is an acronym for "away from keyboard".

It's commonly used in multiplayer games and chat rooms to let other players know that you will be unavailable for a short time (away from keyboard), or to quickly explain an idle period.

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    it's also used for online console games which don't have a keyboard, for the same historical reasons that a floppy drive is used as a save icon
    – Eben
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 8:25
  • came here to say that. Here, get your +1 :)
    – Novarg
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 8:52
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    While you're "away from keyboard", you may also be "a free kill"
    – Ruben
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 14:06

Well, I'm a​way f​rom my k​eyboard right now.

I'll tell you when I get back.

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    Jeez. For shame! Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 8:47
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    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 9:01
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    Voice typing OP, nerf please.
    – Kroltan
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 16:21
  • @WhynoTalos I didn't mean to offend. I was just pointing out a grammatical curiosity (intended to be interpreted lightly): You said "I'm a​way f​rom my k​eyboard right now", which may imply that you did not use a keyboard to type that phrase. A common non-keyboard solution for typing is voice recognition software. Sorry if I sounded harsh, English is my second language.
    – Kroltan
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 16:39
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    @Kroltan Point taken. I type directly over the ether with my brain. :D
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 16:41

AFK simply means Away From Keyboard. It's commonly used in chatrooms and online games and it basically means that you won't be available (Not at the keyboard = Not in front of your computer).

Just in case you're wondering what RE or WB means: You'll see these two abbreviations quite often in onlinegames together with AFK. Re which basically means Returned and WB which stands for Welcome Back.

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    Bk, short for back, is also regularly used. Although the full word back is common, since it's so short.
    – Jon Story
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 12:13
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    Also, Be Right Back.
    – Ajedi32
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 13:48
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    If you say "back" when you return from AFK and someone says "front" you are required to "lol". It's an internet tradition.
    – BrianH
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 15:26
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    @BrianDHall If someone says ping, you MUST say pong.
    – Kaz Wolfe
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 16:42

AFK is used (as you correctly assumed) online. Like many other used words online (like lol and gtg etc.) AFK is a abbreviation, specifically for A way F rom K eyboard.


AFK is an acronym for Away From Keyboard. Say, you have to go for a break, then you write AFK in your private/public chatroom. Used in mobile texting and instant messaging as well.

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