FAFO: Meaning, Origin, and Uses


FAFO is an acronym derived from the phrase “Fuc* around and find out.” Now, you may wonder what this phrase means. In short, it means that your words, actions, and choices have consequences. If you “fuc* around” (do something, usually negative), you will “find out” (experience the consequences). 

As such, this phrase is often used when someone does something bad or stupid and experiences a negative outcome. Apart from warning someone not to do bad/stupid things, people often use this phrase to rejoice when something bad happens as a result of those bad/stupid things. 

Some people even use FAFO as a warning. In this context, they use the phrase to say that they aren’t to be messed with. So, if someone tries to hurt them in any way, they will defend themselves, usually by following the “eye for an eye” principle.

Of course, FAFO isn’t always so grave. Sometimes, people say it as a joke or use it as a meme, especially in situations that are more funny than serious. It doesn’t always have to be a warning or an act of jubilating to someone’s demise. Occasionally, it is just a fun thing to say.

Political Context

FAFO is used by American leftists and other sympathizers of the Democratic party. They started using it in 2020, before the presidential elections in which Joe Biden ran against Donald Trump. 

During that time, Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire and a former New York City mayor, decided to run as the Democrat candidate. However, many people felt that his candidacy would only undermine the Democrat Party and lead to Trump’s second term. 

Some of these people took their frustration to Twitter and Reddit, where they posted “Fuc* around and find out” memes and posts referring to Bloomberg’s candidacy. In the end, Bloomberg decided to give up on his candidacy in favor of Joe Biden, who won the election. 

“Proud Boys” Ties

Another political group that uses FAFO is “Proud Boys.” This group is highly controversial, as it is a far-right, neo-fascist militant organization consisting solely of white male Americans.

They use FAFO as a threat against those who oppose them, basically to convey, “Don’t mess with us, or you will face the consequences.”


During the 2020/2021 presidential elections, FAFO became a part of leftist memes. These memes were usually posted on Twitter. There, an unusual pairing happened: many posters and accounts decided to pair FAFO with Gritty, the mascot of the Philadelphia Flyers NHL team. 

Many Twitter users, even those who weren’t interested in elections and politics, found this pairing funny. They created more memes with FAFO, Gritty, and other chaotic characters that perfectly encapsulate this phrase.

Speaking of Twitter, its owner, Elon Musk, banned several people (mostly those who criticized him, but also Kanye West) from using this platform. Then, he tweeted “FAFO,” basically saying, “Do things that I don’t like, and you will face the consequences.” In this case, the consequences meant being banned from Twitter. 

Roger Skaer’s “Fuc* Around and Find Out” Chart

@rogerskaer Fuck Around and Find Out #51yearoldbaldman #bigboymoney #beingrich #thoughtsfromthepump #perspective #ilovemyford #electricbike #fordcamping #fordlife #fordproblems #babydog #geese #gasprices #inspiring #paddleboarding #totalidiot #CapCut #fuckaroundandfindout ♬ original sound – Roger Skaer

According to Skaer, “FAFO” can also be described as a casual or aimless activity (considered as a waste of time) where no specific result is expected but often leads to unexpected discoveries. 

The concept has been humorously applied to various aspects of life and research, suggesting that experimentation or ‘fuc* around’ can lead to significant findings, both in science and everyday life. The idea of FAFO is linked to human curiosity and the tendency to learn through trial and error.

Phrase Origins

This is a relatively new phrase, dating back to the early 2000s. According to Google Trends, the first documented use of FAFO was in 2004. At that time, FAFO was predominantly used in the Afro-American community. People who used it usually said it in its full form instead of its acronym. 

Later, during the 2010s, FAFO was mostly forgotten. Then, in the early 2020s (in 2022 in particular), FAFO became an extremely popular phrase. No longer was it solely used in Afro-American communities, and people from different socioeconomic circles embraced it. 

Of course, since the digital age shapes the way we speak and communicate, FAFO is nowadays mostly used in online communication. Because of convenience and the popularity of some other acronyms, people use FAFO both in its full and in its acronym form.

Examples of Use and Variations

If you want to use this phrase, you first need to know when it is appropriate to use it. Since this phrase contains the F-word, you shouldn’t use it lightly. For example, avoid using it in professional settings or any other situations where you don’t want to look rude. 

In these situations, avoid using FAFO even in its acronym form. Even though this abbreviated form doesn’t mention the full F-word, it is still implied. Additionally, using acronyms such as FAFO, OMG, LOL, YOLO, and similar will make you look unprofessional, even if you don’t say any explicit words.

So, try to use FAFO in more casual situations, among people who won’t get insulted by it or think that you are ill-mannered. Also, use this phrase only when it makes sense; don’t just throw it around. For example, these are the correct uses of FAFO: 

  • “He didn’t study for that exam, so he failed it. Basically, he FAFO.”
  • “Don’t insult my mother, or you will FAFO!”
  • “I didn’t think it was such a high jump. I f-***-ed around and found out – both my legs are broken.

You can also use FAFO in its full form or some similar variant:

  • F*** around and find out
  • Eff around and find out
  • Play with fire, get burned
  • Mess with the bull, get the horns
  • Play stupid games, win stupid prizes

As you can see, some of these variants don’t use any explicit words. This makes them a perfect alternative to FAFO when you want to sound more polite or professional but still convey the same message as FAFO.


FAFO is a fun and cheeky way to say, “Do something bad or stupid and face the consequences.” It originated in the Afro-American community in the early 2000s, but two decades later, this phrase exploded. It became popular among many different socioeconomic and demographic groups.

Nowadays, some people use FAFO because of its original meaning, while others use it as a joke or a meme. There are even political groups that use it as a slogan, and some even use it as a threat. As usual, the exact meaning will depend on the context. 

In reality, actions when people “fuc* around” don’t always lead to expected consequences – find out. In a fairer world, perhaps, people would get what they deserved.

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