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Alphanumerish is a term for a mishmash of letters and numbers that express some core idea or make a statement. These types of communications are mainly attributed to the rise of technologies that make it necessary for users to shorten or abbreviate words. However, prior to the computer age, examples of alphanumerish have existed in street graffiti, or on the license plates of vehicles, or anything else where messages had to be shortened.
In using alphanumerish, which is popular in chat slang, on instant messaging and other digital platforms like Twitter, users consolidate several letters into a number, or otherwise change the relationship of letters and numbers to construct text that does not look like anything that was used in most of the 20th century. Some examples include words like “l8r” (later) and “gr8” (great), as well as phrases like 2U (to you). Alphanumerish helps to provide a means of quicker communication, but many worry that it cheapens the English language or damages people's discourse through written words.