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What Does “SMH” Mean, and How Do You Use It?

The initialism “SMH” has been around for a while, and you’ll often encounter it in chat rooms and on social media websites. But what does SMH mean? Who came up with it, and how do you use it?

“Shake My Head” or “Shaking My Head”

SMH is an internet initialism that stands for “shake my head” or “shaking my head.” It’s used to express disappointment or disbelief in the face of what’s perceived as glaringly obvious stupidity or extremely obliviousness.

(As a side note, some people think that SMH means “so much hate.” This is like the Bizzaro meaning of SMH. We’re not going to say that “so much hate” is incorrect, but it’s not the meaning that most people associate with SMH, so you should avoid using it for that purpose.)

Etymology of SMH

SMH was first added to the Urban Dictionary in 2004 with a meaning that’s identical to the initialism’s current meaning. Nobody knows where the phrase came from. Still, it was probably conceived around the same time as the phrase “facepalm,” a similar internet expression that was first uploaded to the Urban Dictionary the same month as SMH.

How to Use SMH

You should use SMH anytime you might physically shake your head. There aren’t too many rules to the phrase; just know that it’s used to express disgust, disbelief, shock, or disappointment. You could even use it for a joke, just as you might teasingly shake your head for a laugh in real life.

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