Mfw is the acronym for the phrase “My Face When”. It is usually accompanied by a description of a situation or a picture, depicting “my face when” something happens.
The abbreviation is similar to mrw and tfw in the aspect that all three are used to depict a certain reaction, though while the other two have their usual moods – mrw is often describing disgust, while tfw is describing disappointment – mfw is always dependent on the context.
Mfw has first appeared on the green text stories of 4chan, sometime before 2010.
It had quickly caught on the page, appearing in reaction posts and images, usually with the “greater than symbol” (>) which separates segments of the story.
The acronym’s popularity experienced a rise in 2010, when the first Urban Dictionary definition was added.
It didn’t need a lot of time to spread on sites such as Twitter and Tumblr. A year later it had also gotten its very own subreddit, where people could post all their best reaction memes.
A similar abbreviation, yfw was born not so short after, where the reader’s reaction is highlighted. Yfw stands for Your Face When.