Being an English nerd (cue Homer Simpson shouting “NEEEEEEEERD” out of his car), I’ve always been intrigued by the origins and meanings of words. I am also very much a man of my time, however, so I love to use abbreviations as much as the next Millennial and have been known to coin phrases and abbrevs (ha) that quickly pick up steam.

One such abbrev that I was quick to jump on upon its recent resurgence is ‘bb’, a shorter version of baby or babe.

I remember noticing this term pop up out of nowhere on social media and thinking… has everyone become R-rated all of a sudden, or am I missing something? I soon learned its actual meaning, but I also think it’s necessary to discuss the vast meanings that accompany the term. What I mean by this will soon become clear.

Please enjoy my well thought-out analysis…

Bb, Your Favourite Internet Term, Has A Very NSFW Meaning And You Probs Had No Idea

BB meaning #1: Baby, babe

So there’s the most notable, as discussed above.

Fun fact: Despite it hitting the big time last year, it’s actually not a brand spanking new term.

I’ve found Urban Dictionary entries as early as 2006 that describe it as “netspeak for baby, most likely used at the end a phrase as an added emphasis or exaggeration,” but it looks like the combined powers of Gen Z and Millennials made it a thing again, and so here we are.

BB meaning #2: Big Brother

I remember when Big Brother first aired, internet speak was certainly a thing (my Friday nights were spent glued to the family computer as I discussed the latest Friday Night Games debacle with my mates on MSN), but I don’t remember us referring to the show as BB.

Probs ‘cos that was around the time meaning #1 was a thing first, I dunno.

But this time ’round, as PEDESTRIAN.TV’s Big Brother’s recapper, I can tell you that BB took on a new meaning as the abbreviation of the revamped reality show and #BB was often a trending topic on Twitter.

BB meaning #3: Bareback

Okay, so here’s the climax of the story (pun intended). When I first saw the term being thrown around last year, I was like… is this a new wave in gay communication? Are we not just referring to each other as tops, bottoms and vers’, but as condom-wearers / non-condom wearers as well? (Not that that’s okay, we are not defined by our sexual positions, PEOPLE!)

I’m not a total buffoon, I knew this absolutely was not the case, but for someone who has been studying gay terminology for over a decade, let me tell you, seeing those two letters suddenly peppered across social media was as raw as, well, you know.

I’ve pretty much gotten used to it now, particularly ‘cos I have a tendency to refer to all my loved ones as bb (I’m cute like that), but for a good while there, it was v. alarming to see my non-queer mates calling me bb.

Bb, Your Favourite Internet Term, Has A Very NSFW Meaning And You Probs Had No Idea

Childhood friend: Hey bb!

Me: I’m sorry, HWHAT?

All of this aside, though, for the love of all that is good and pure, PLS WEAR A CONDOM and leave bb for fun internet abbreviations only.

Head here to read all about practicing safe sex.