Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What "smh" REALLY Means (information & examples) Part II

Edited by Azizi Powell

This is Part II of a two part series on the acronym "smh".

Click for Part I of this series. Part I provides information and comments and a few examples of "smh".

Part II provides a portion of the information found in Part I as well as additional examples of the use of "smh".

The content of this post is presented for cultural and etymological purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post. Thanks also to Whoissugar, the vlogger who is featured in one video that is showcased below.

UPDATE: October 7, 2014
Here are links to two other pancocojams post that mention "shakin my head" (smh):

"Smh" is an acronym for "shaking my head". At least to date, "smh" appears to be limited to written communication-particularly internet blogging and tweeting and (telephone) text messaging.

People usually write about something and then add the acronym "smh" at the end of that sentence. For instance, a person might write "Did you see that movie? The reviews said it told the true story about relationships between men and women. smh. Or, less often, "smh" is found at the beginning of a sentence or at the beginning of a short-hand internet/text message statement. For instance, "smh @"XYZ" movie.

Most of the time when people write "smh", they're communicating that they are figuratively shaking their head in reaction to the words and/or actions of another person. When "smh" is written, it expresses that the person feels or felt one or more of the following: disbelief about or negative judgment of what a person has said or done, for example the belief that the person is ignorant, or foolish, or a liar, or racist. "Smh" is also used to express exasperation, disdain, disgust, and/or anger because of those previously listed reasons or for other reasons...

A person might also write "smh" as a form of wry, self-deprecating sense of humor to note something that she or he realizes about herself or himself or about people (and animals or things) who or that they associate with. Most of the examples from whoissugar's two featured videos in this pancocojams series demonstrate that type of usage of "smh".

These examples are presented in chronological order based on the date that they were posted on the internet. I've assigned numbers to these examples for referencing purposes.

1."10-22-2010, 12:28 PM#3
...Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
@this thread"
This post and the similarly written post
"10-22-2010, 12:34 PM#18
awwmad, ...Tronno, Ontario, Canada
Smh @ thrad"
were written in response to a thread whose initial post asked "Why do lots of black people say "SMH"?"

2. "My colleague just showed up to work in a mesh shirt. SMH"
From "13 Internet Slang Terms You Need to Know" Posted by Guest Blogger | on August 14, 2012. That internet page gave this definition of "smh": "SMH: “Shaking My Head,” an expression of disbelief or disapproval"

3. [Explanation: This was written in response to questions about what type of dancing is done in the video whose link is given below.]
"DIYSandMore, 2012
It's chicago, Illinois. the style is JUKE ... it's in the description... smh"
This is a comment from the viewer discussion thread of the video This video is showcased in the pancocojams post

4. "Kiya Mckee, 2013
all they girl in the blck is doing same thing smh"
This is another comment from the same source that was cited in Example #3. This comment was also featured in that same pancocojams post.

Here's that sentence in standard American English: "That girl who is wearing black is only doing the same moves over and over again."

With regard to the lack of punctuation in that sentence and the abbreviaton of the word "black": I believe that the high value that is placed upon speed in internet writing and [telephone] texting has created new norms that greatly minimize the importance of capitalization & punctuation. Furthermore, those "new norms" mean that words can be omitted as long as the comments/message could be understood -similarly to the "You" being omitted when writing a command such as "Come here."

5. "KYRO , a year ago [2013]
This post was made in 2013 and Tiesto is filed under a Trance Artist. smh"
An Idiot’s Guide to EDM Genres posted by androids | March 28, 2013 [EDM = Electronic Dance Music]
WARNING: That blog thread contains a number of comments that include profanity.

6. "ABC Dance Crew, 2014
From That quoted comment refers to the Hip Hop artist Sharaya J. I included that quote in this pancocojams post

7. “@peoplemag: Olivia's back to straight hair so you KNOW she means business. #Scandal” so much wrong with that SMH
— Theownley Winner (@theownley) September 26, 2014,
The beginning of this tweet quotes a People Magazine tweet that was deleted by the magazine shortly after it was posted. Read more about this incident in that linked article.

8. "What they should have focused on is how great the premier of the show was!! Smh!! Ignorance"
Chamelle Lambert Mitchell, September 26 at 11:52am
This tweet is a reaction to this People Magazine tweet:
'@people magazine
Waiting for Viola to break in with “You is kind. You is smart. You is important.

9/25/14 9:43 PM"
That tweet was posted shortly after the one given above as eexample #7 of this post. It alluded to Viola Davis' role as a maid in the movie Help instead of reviewing the new television series in which she stars as a successful attorney. Shortly after that tweet was published, People Magazine deleted it and issued what the magazine considered to be an apology. Read more about this in that linked article.

9. "Stephanie Figueroa‏@steph_fig·1m1 minute ago
Don’t understand my fellow auxiliares who claim they aren’t loving the big city. I mean, waaaat??? Oh well. To each his own, I guess... #smh
7:05 AM - 1 Oct 2014 , retrieved from

10. Kids these days... SMH.
No date given retrieved on October 1, 2014 from


359-whoissugar's Christmas Sampler!!! Smh


whoissugar Published on Dec 25, 2012
Where am I online?
Here are two comments from that video and whoissugar's responses to those comments. Note that whoissugar uses "smh" in a good humored, self–deprecating way.

[Explanation: In the video someone off screen is heard saying that Sug [Sugar]'s singing sounded like “dying cats”.]

ttknowles01, Dec 25, 2012
"LOL @ the dying cats!!! I'm glad I am not the only one who doesn't know all the words to the Christmas songs. A Merry Christmas to you and your family Sug!!!

whoissugarDec 26, 2012 in reply to ttknowles01
LOL!!!!! Honey, you got to own it EVEN if you don't know all the words. Smh

[Explanation: This is a good humored critique of Sug's singing in the video.]

DigitalDezinesCEO, Dec 25, 2012
"lol The songs remind me of the compilation album commercials from TV. Merry Christmas!"

whoissugar, Dec 26, 2012 in reply to DigitalDezinesCEO
"bwhhahahahaha!!! I wish I had mood lighting and a tacky Christmas sweater. Smh Thanks for the love!"

RELATED LINKS "Putting On The Black: Side Eye"

** "What Kiss Teeth (Suck Teeth) Mean"

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