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I was playing an online game and I noticed a player on my team with username "4PP13". I asked him what should I call him. He said "apple".

I didn't have second thoughts until I Googled it. It turned out "4PP13" does means apple according to Free Dictionary.

So what's the deal? Is this a special case? If not, what is this called?

marked as duplicate by Mari-Lou A, Brian Hooper, Mitch, Hellion, tchrist Nov 3 '15 at 2:05

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    It's called "leetspeak" (variously 733tsp34k etc), where "leet" is a foreshortening of "elite", as these kids have been styling themselves since at least the mid-90s (which is when I, personally, first encountered it). – Dan Bron Jun 19 '15 at 15:34
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    It's like teenage slang; if you get it, you're in the gang. If you don't, you're a loser. No big deal unless you wanna hang with somebody that's 2 1337 2 CU – John Lawler Jun 19 '15 at 15:47
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    It should probably be explicitly noted somewhere that leetspeak is generally considered to be fairly obnoxious, and, as such, is almost always used ironically these days. Consider your friend apple an internet-hipster, if you will. – webbcode Jun 19 '15 at 16:08
  • @webbcode It should be noted - I just got kicked out of a game. – RexYuan Jun 21 '15 at 7:50
  • @Mari-LouA I asked this on asked Jun 19 at 15:24 and he asked it on asked Jul 23 at 10:07. If I remember correctly, June comes before July? – RexYuan Nov 2 '15 at 12:08

This is an example of Leetspeak, a relatively common internet pseudo-language/alphabet from a few years ago.

Leet (or "1337"), also known as eleet or leetspeak, is an alternative alphabet for the English language that is used primarily on the Internet. It uses various combinations of ASCII characters to replace Latinate letters. For example, leet spellings of the word leet include 1337 and l33t; eleet may be spelled 31337 or 3l33t.


  • Leetspeak originated in English-language texts, but its approach to orthography has also imported to other languages. In other Latin-alphabet texts that substitutions are often the same. I've also seen the same principles adapted to express Cyrillic in software systems that are Latin-only, such as text chat in Quake and Quake World. – Jessa Jun 19 '15 at 18:29
  • c00l! A1s0 f0und this b10g p0s7 by Dictionary.com 4nd this c0nv3r73r – RexYuan Jun 19 '15 at 20:12

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