What Does “HBU” Mean? How, When & Where It Can Be Used

Have you received a coded communication with the letters “HBU”? You merely posed a question, they responded, and then they’ve just slapped on these three letters at the end? DW, we’ll explain…


Some acronyms are a bit easier to figure out than others. We’ve all seen the memes of mums reporting the death of a family member followed by “lol”, thinking it means “lots of love”.

While many of these keyboard shortcuts almost form a second language for those that frequently communicate with others of a younger generation, there may still be many people out there that have left it a little too long to ask and now just ignore responses like “HBU? ”.

“HBU” is a little different to most other acronyms as it abbreviates the slang way of asking the question it poses. Technically, “HBU?” should probably be “HAY?”, but because it’s not it is a bit more difficult to decipher.

So, what does “HBU” stand for?

What Does “HBU” Mean?

“HBU?” means “how about you?”, and is usually said in response to a question being asked. For example, somebody could respond to “Did you have a good weekend?” with “Yes, thanks. Hbu?

It is also common for this acronym to be used without a question mark, which may make it more difficult for certain individuals to figure out what it is supposed to mean.

The acronym is typically friendly, however it is rather casual, which may be another reason contributing to the fact that it is not used very frequently in everyday conversation if your acquaintances are typically professional.

When To Use “HBU”

Now that you know what “HBU” means, you’ve probably figured out how to use it as well since it is essentially just used in place of the full words the initials represent.

But, just in case – and as already explained – it can be used in conversation as a shortcut for repeating a question back to the person who initially asked it:

  • “Having a good day?” – “Yes thanks, hbu?”.
  • “What do you fancy for dinner tonight?” – “No preference, hbu?”.

Technically, it can be used as a method of suggesting a person does a particular task, but you won’t see it used this way very often.

  • “Who’s emptying the dishwasher?” – “Dunno, hbu?”.

When Not To Use “HBU”

As previously mentioned, this acronym is a very informal one. Not only is it just text/internet speak, but it also initialises the slang version of asking the question.

Taking this into account, it probably shouldn’t be something you’re typing into professional and formal emails.

TBH, a good rule to have with “HBU” is unless you’re typing it into your phone, probably don’t use it. Unless you send work emails from your phone, of course.

But hey, you do you – use it where you feel it fits, but don’t get yourself in trouble with HR for being too informal with professional clients.

Jake McEvoy

Jake is a professional copywriter, journalist, and life-long fan of technology. He covers news and user guides for KnowYourMobile.

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