What does smurf mean in online gaming?

An alternate account used by a skilled player

In gaming, a smurf account is an alternate (usually low-level) account used by a skilled player. Veteran players create smurf accounts for many reasons, including:

  • To play with low-level friends
  • To try out alternate characters and game experiences
  • To avoid being recognized during matchmaking

However, some trolls create smurf accounts expressly to pwn noobs in MOBAs, FPSes and other online games. This practice is frowned upon, and it can even get players banned in some games.

What is the origin of smurf?

Warcraft II players Geoff "Shlongor" Frazier and Greg "Warp" Boyko unwittingly coined the term smurf. Frazier and Boyko were so good at Warcraft II that players often quit after seeing their screennames during matchmaking. To mitigate this problem, Frazier and Boyko created smurf accounts named PapaSmurf and Smurfette. This allowed them to play against others without being recognized (at least for a while).

Is smurf used outside gaming?

Smurf can be used outside of gaming. For example, IRL smurfing videos, in which someone good at a real-life skill pretends to be bad at it for laughs, have become popular on Twitch, Reddit, YouTube, and other platforms.


How many smurf accounts do you have?
Several. I've had to make another recently b/c people sniffed me out
A LoL player decrying the ability to smurf
A LoL player decrying the ability to smurf

Related Slang


Updated February 14, 2022

Smurf definition by

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