If you’ve been on Twitter lately, you’ve probably already seen posts littered with some variation of this phrase. But what exactly does “L + Ratio” mean, and where does it come from? The answer is simpler than you might think.
Comprising two short and sweet elements, L+ Ratio is an up-and-comer in the realm of gaming-adjacent internet slang. Once this phrase began to circulate in online spaces, it quickly reached a point of ubiquity.
In 2022, L + Ratio is still a popular form of insult, even if it runs the risk of becoming overused. In many ways, the overuse of “L + Ratio” is often part of the joke.
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What Does L Mean?
The internet’s history of abbreviating things to acronyms is largely to blame for the origin of the use of L. The first part of this iconic phrase, L, is difficult to trace back to a specific moment or point in time. Still, it’s largely considered to have originated in the fighting game community, where W and L are used to describe “win” and “loss” respectively.
Therefore, using “L” to kick off your insult is starting with the bold declaration that the person being insulted has “lost” in some way. This occurs even if there was never any competition involved.
It’s a lot like how people use the letter F to signal a failed experience and “pay their respects.” This references the PC version of the popular game Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, which includes a sequence where players must attend a funeral and press the F key to “pay their respects” at the appropriate moment.
Using L as a singular letter in response to a tweet, social media post, or live stream indicates a general measure of distaste for the content posted, or in some cases, the person who posted it. It’s not uncommon to see L posted in response to content that is otherwise mundane, especially in combination with the term ratio, to signal a recent bad decision by the poster.
What Does Ratio Mean?
The term “ratio,” in contrast to “L,” is a little more recent. A “ratio” in the context of social media refers to the ratio of likes on the post versus the amount of positive engagement. A post with a high amount of comments but a low amount of likes indicates a post that’s generally unpopular. This situation is what is known as a ratio.
In addition to “being ratioed,” one can also attempt to ratio someone else. When using “ratio” as a verb, it refers to trying to incite or participate in a ratio. This can sometimes be used in an ironic sense. Suggesting that someone should be “ratioed” for their opinion is a common way of saying that you disagree with someone a lot, but in a way that shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
Of course, the opinion of what exactly constitutes a ratio seems to vary from person to person. Some think that comments must simply outweigh the number of likes in a numerical sense, whilst others also consider things like how positive people are being in the comments.
As a ratio is conceptually based on negative feedback, a post with lots of comments praising it arguably isn’t a ratio, even if the “ratio” is unbalanced with a higher number of comments than likes. It’s important to note that true ratios are always negative in tone. A positive ratio is just an ordinary post.
Many social media counts exist for the sole purpose of documenting ratios, or even failed attempts at a ratio.
What Does L + Ratio Mean?
Putting these two phrases together, you would be correct in assuming that L + Ratio is an insult. Concise and to the point, L + Ratio communicates a lot in one short statement. It’s easy to say and type. It also communicates a lot in a short amount of words, making it perfect for being dismissive. Especially if you’re being ironic.
In its current usage, it’s common to add other insults at the end of the phrase. For example, “you fell off” (meaning your skill in something decreased rapidly) is a common addition. This phrase is also a prime example of how slang like this evolves. In its current usage, you are just as likely to witness someone saying “L + Ratio” in combination with some other insults as a joke as you are to see it used with any level of seriousness.
In some cases, a large number of insults being added to the end of the phrase using the + symbol might indicate that this is intended to be received in a more jovial context. So, If someone’s commented “L + Ratio” on something you’ve posted online, don’t fret. There’s always a chance they’re just being goofy.