Leet, or leetspeak, is a method of typing words using alternate characters. Letters are replaced with numbers or symbols that closely resemble them. For example, the letter "a" might be replaced with the @ symbol and the letter "E" might be replaced with the number 3. The word "leet" can be written as "1337."
Some letters have obvious numeric alternatives, such as "8" for "B" and "5" for "S." Other characters are easily replaced by special characters. For example, "ƒ" can be used for "f" and "µ" may be used for "u." In cases where no obvious substitution is available, multiple characters may be used. For example, "\/" can replace "V" and "|)" can replace "D."
Most letters have more than one possible leet replacement, so there is no standard way to write words in leetspeak. Additionally, font case is interchangeable. Leet words often contain a combination of lowercase and uppercase characters. In some cases, letters may be omitted or changed to something similar, such as "z" for the letter "s."
The word "computer" can be written in leetspeak several different ways. Below are a few examples:
While there is no correct way to write words in leetspeak, they should be easy to decipher.
Leet has no official use, though it is commonly associated with the computing elite (3l33t) and hackers (h@ck0rz). It is often used just for fun, though it can also be used to intimidate newbies (n00bs) in web forums or online chatrooms. Some users type questionable words in leetspeak to bypass word filters in online games or discussions.
NOTE: You can view a list of common leet translations from the PC.net Leet Sheet.