What does SMS stand for re: texting?

Short Message Service

When you're discussing text messages, SMS stands for Short Message Service. This service allows texters to send short messages (160 characters or less) to each others' mobile phones, tablets, and other devices.

Usually, SMS messages are sent over cellular networks. However, they can also be sent via the internet (often using Wi-Fi).

Because SMS restricts messages' character count, texters have devised many SMS-related abbreviations that help them text more succinctly. To see some of this SMS-related slang, check out our Text Messaging page.


I can't remember the last time I sent an SMS message. I always use WhatsApp now
I can't stand those fancy apps. It's still plain ol' texting for me
To many, SMS is a relic of the past
To many, SMS is a relic of the past

Related Slang


Updated October 3, 2023

SMS definition by

This page explains what the acronym "SMS" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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