Parlez-vous L33t?by Dave Michels in Random
You are most likely familiar with numbers being used to implicate letters, phrases or even symbols. In SMS (txting) shortcuts, for instance, 2 can also be used for “to”, 4 can mean “for” and the 8 spells “eat” in gr8, meaning great. This is called SMSish or textese or simply SMS language.
When numbers instead of letters are used to spell a whole word it is called leet – which, in leet, is written as 1337. Another example is n00b, a term for newbie. Andsoforth.
Leet originated in the 1980s in relay chat services and on bulletin boards. If you look at it for the first time it might seem difficult to understand but you’ll be surprised how quickly you will catch it. Train your brain with this example of leet:
53RV35 7O PR0V3
H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N
D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!
1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG
17 WA5 H4RD BU7
N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3
Y0UR M1ND 1S
W17H 0U7 3V3N
7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17,
B3 PROUD! 0NLY
C3R741N P30PL3 C4N
Glad you caught that! As you’ve noticed, you can also combine the use of leet, textese and normal spelling or even morph it. It isn’t a bad way to come up with some creative pa55w0rd5 either.
5p34k1ng 0f wh1ch, a1s0 c: Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch
See: Numbers as letters