Overwatch, with its wide array of characters, sci-fi setting, huge number of abilities, various mechanics, modes and situations, has spawned a heap of new slang concerning the game which might seem outright gibberish to unfamiliar listeners.
However, understanding many of these terms means understanding the game. And as communication is so essential to winning matches in Overwatch, it’s important not to lose precious seconds or fail to secure an objective because you’re busy wondering what the heck someone just said.
In the heat of the moment, you’ll likely hear entire phrases constructed from these terms, making knowledge of them even more essential. Some of these terms are shorthand for official terms that appear in-game, others have been made up by the players, some have been adapted from regular speech but given new meanings, and others are pop-culture references.
Sometimes, for the sake of ease of course, players also interchange in-game terms which can confuse the living hell out of new players. Are all shields barriers and not all barriers shields, or the other way around?
Some terms will fly around in every casual match, while some will mostly only appear in more coordinated situations on a higher level of play. Some are fairly easy to decipher for yourself, such as the shorthand names for the heroes, while others can be nigh impossible to guess without knowing the backstory of the term.
Here we seek to collect every single specialized Overwatch term into a single comprehensive compendium.
Table of Contents
2CP – Refers to the “Assault” game mode due to the two control points which the attacking team needs to capture in order to secure victory.
2-2-2 – Refers to a specific team composition with 2 tanks, 2 supports and 2 DPS characters. Certain dive compositions fall into this category. What’s a dive comp? Well, read on to find out.
3-3 – Another specific team composition, this time with three tank characters and three healers to back them up.
76 – Shorthand for Soldier: 76
Aimbot –  Refers to a particular kind of cheat/hack which uses an algorithm to automatically aim at enemy players with perfectly calculated shots, meaning the player never misses. Overwatch has had it better off in terms of cheaters than most other multiplayer shooters, but a few of these still pop up from time to time.  Refers to Soldier: 76’s Tactical Visor ability, which allows him to lock onto the head of the closest enemy for maximum precision.
AOE – Acronym for Area of Effect, which refers to attacks which deal damage over a large target area (explosives) instead of just point damage (bullets).
Assault – Game mode, see “2CP”.
Baby D.Va/B.Va – Refers to the tank hero D.Va whenever she is without her MEKA following the triggering of her Self-Destruct ultimate ability.
Back Line – Battlefield term for the part of the team formation intended to be occupied by long-range DPS and support/healer characters.
Bait –  To lure enemy players into a pre-determined killzone set up to maximize damage and kills.  Someone who becomes overly salty and tilted trying to get an enemy player to engage in a 1v1, usually to settle a personal score while ignoring game objectives.
Beyblade – A combination of Ana’s and Reaper’s ultimate abilities, Nano-boost and Death Blossom, occasionally combined with Lúcio’s Crossfade: Speed. The result is a higher damage and optionally faster Death Blossom. Named due to the animation of Death Blossom resembling Reaper spinning quickly.
Big Bang – Refers to Zarya’s Gravtion Surge ultimate ability.
BMing – Shorthand for badmouthing, bad manners. Refers to toxic behaviour.
Boop –  Specifically used when a knockback ability pushes a player off a ledge, or in some other way causes them to fall to their deaths.  More general term for any ability that displaces the opponent.
Boostio – Refers to the highly unfortunate and futile mistake where Ana accidentally Nano-boosts Lúcio, essentially wasting the ultimate.
Bloo/Blue – Random players.
Bubble – Refers to Zarya’s Barriers.
C9 – Mostly used in competitive environments, this term refers to the situation when a team loses due to completely disregarding the objective of the current game-mode. Coined after pro team Cloud 9 lost a match due to ignoring the payload.
Card – Displayed at the end of a match, this screen shows off the teams and allows players to participate in a vote regarding who was the best among them, with the opportunity of voting for yourself. Gaining at least 5 votes will yield bonus XP.
Carry –  Referring to a highly skilled player whose actions alone allow the team to win, meaning the player “carried” his team to victory.  Referring to a hero whose skillset allows, if supported correctly, them to carry the team and essentially single-handedly solve situations and win confrontations.
Cart – Refers to the payload that players need to protect during Escort and Assault/Escort matches. More frequently used in competitive play, but crops up during casual matches too.
Car Wash – Refers to a room or location, usually a chokepoint, filled with an absurd number of Symmetra turrets.
CC – Refers to crowd control, which is a category of abilities the main purpose of which isn’t to deal damage necessarily, but to limit the options of enemy players, primarily in terms of movement. Area denial falls under this category.
CD – Refers to cooldown timers, which determine how quickly you can use an ability in succession.
Charge – Used to refer how close to being ready one’s ultimate ability is.
Charged – Refers to an ultimate ability which is ready to use, see Ultimate Ready.
Chaser – A player, be they friendly or hostile, who ignore objectives in favor of chasing down wounded opponents in order to secure an elimination. If you have a chaser on your team, it pays off to plan in accordance while trying to dissuade him, while an enemy chaser can be exploited through baiting.
Cheese Comp – Sometimes referred to as the “cancer comp”, this is a team composition made up of Reinhardt, Orisa, Torbjörn, Symmetra, Bastion and Mercy. At the time of the term’s coining, these were considered the least effective heroes both on their own and as a team.
Choke(point) – Refers to a narrow area on a map where multiple enemy heroes can be funneled into a relatively small area, and thus a killzone can be designated. These locations are easily defensible and thus strategically significant.
Comp –  Refers to a team composition, meaning either general roles or specific heroes whose abilities and traits complement one another in a way that makes them particularly effective.  Refers to competitive play, Overwatch’s ranked game mode.
Conga Line – Refers to a situation where instead of attacking as a team, one side’s players attack their entrenched enemy one-by-one as they respawn offering no real match to the opponents who mow them down as they appear. See also: Trickling.
Contester – A hero whose skillset and stats make them capable of potentially thwarting the capture of a control point, or to protect the payload, on their own for a short time required for reinforcements to arrive and help out.
Counter – Refers to a hero whose skillset makes them a perfect choice against another hero, in a rock-paper-scissors kind of way.
Counter Ult – Similar to Counter, this refers to an ultimate ability which specifically has the use to cancel out the effect of an enemy’s ultimate ability.
Cree – Shorthand for McCree.
Deathball – A team strategy where a particular comp of heroes is chosen where they are capable of outputting a lot of damage while also ensuring survivability, and then sticking close together all the time forming a nigh-invulnerable juggernaut. Deathball and Dive are considered to share common ancestry in terms of Meta.
Deathroom – Also used as Deathgate, these are designated kill zones set up by a team into which they plan on funneling or luring enemies into in order to take them out with a sudden attack.
Deep Strike – A manoeuvre when one team evades or breaks through the enemy line of defense to attack an objective behind them, forcing the defenders to turn around, essentially flipping the sides of the battle.
Denial –  Preventing enemy players from going through or accessing a given area within the map, also known as area denial.  Canceling the trigger of an enemy ultimate, either with a counter ability or by killing the hero about to set off the ult before they can.
Discorded – Refers to a player who is being affected by Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord.
Dive – Dives are a variant of deep strikes where an entire team performs the strike. Dives have two main goals – getting through enemy defenses in order to secure an objective while also backstabbing the enemy and picking them off in a deathball style attack. This has become a strong meta strategy and currently dominates the game both in casual and professional spheres.
Dive Comp – The particular team composition required for the dive strategy, requires heroes with both high mobility and survivability, two tanks, usually D.Va and Winston, and Mercy as a healer, among others.
Dive Meta – Refers to the current state of the metagame which is dominated by the dive comp, meaning that it is the prevalent strategy used by all players and is considered to be currently the best strategy.
Doom – Shorthand for Doomfist.
DPS –  Acronym of Damage Per Second, refers to the points of damage any hero is capable of dealing each second depending on ability used.  Refers to the offense class of heroes.
Drop(ped) the Beat – In this case, “beat” refers to Lúcio’s ultimate ability, and this phrase is used to either instruct the Lúcio player to use the ult, or to announce that the ult has been used
Dry Push – A coordinated team attack where purposefully no-ones uses their ultimates, allowing them all to charge in order to then use them all at once in the next attack.
E – Refers to the second non-primary ability of any hero character.
Edge – Generally used as shorthand by “get close to the edge/ledge” by Mercy players when instructing teammates to position themselves for the use of Guardian Angel.
El Presidente – Mostly fallen out of usage, refers to a specific maneuver which sees a team forming a defensive position around a central Bastion in sentry mode, where said Bastion is the “Presidente”.
ELO Hell – Refers to (the usually exaggerated) situation when someone is stuck with a low competitive skill rating not due to their own poor performance but to the alleged misdeeds of team-mates who dragged down their score. Take these claims with a few pinches of salt (not the alternate understanding of salt, mind), always.
Enviro – Short for “environmental”, refers to kills achieved not just by weapons, but by using the environment, e.g. pushing off characters from ledges (see Boop) or using walls to amplify some hero abilities.
Facetank – Refers to short range/melee tank characters, most often Reinhardt.
Feeding – When someone is feeding, they are repeatedly dying in quick succession with not much by way of contributing to their team, thus only benefitting the opponents and “feeding” them point. Term coined in other FPS games where kills count towards victory directly, but adopted in Overwatch, notably because feeding assists the charging of enemy ults.
Flank – Battlefield term for the rear of your team’s line of defense.
Flanker – Those players sent to skirt around enemy defenses and attack from behind for a tactical advantage.
Flash Fan – McCree strategy where a flashbang is immediately followed up by a Fan the Hammer in order to deal out massive damage.
Frag – You really ought to be familiar with this if you have even a passing interest in games. Refers to a kill, and is one of the oldest slang term to do so.
Front line – Battlefield term for the region of the map where the two teams most often clash. In early and mid-game stages this is usually near the middle. This is also the area where your tanks should usually be situated.
Gamesense – General term referring to your awareness of the various events happening during the course of the match. Having a good sense of the game is essential to makign the right tactical decisions, especially on the fly.
Gen – Shorthand for Genji.
GG EZ – Shorthand for “good game, easy”. Usually used in casual circles, and never by decent people.
Gold Medal Fallacy – A term used for the situation when a player acquires a gold medal due to actions which, in the grand scheme of things, were detrimental to the team, e.g. someone gets a gold medal for eliminations, but they did so by ignoring the objective. Means that gold medals don’t mean a player is actually a good Overwatch player.
Grav – Shorthand for Graviton Surge, the ultimate ability of tank hero Zarya.
Grief – Blanket term for trolling, being a toxic player, throwing matches, and deliberately playing in a way hat is harmful to the player’s own team and helps the enemy team.
Handsoap – Mocking nickname referring to Hanzo.
Hanzo Main –  Originally refers to players whose preferred hero is Hanzo.  Refers to obnoxious members of the previous category who would never switch hero, regardless of how ill-fitting Hanzo is to the current comp or how poorly they are performing.  Generalized insult used to offend anyone, regardless of whether or not they even play as Hanzo, or even play Overwatch, for that matter.
Some cultures consider this a challenge to single combat, to the death, in order to regain one’s honor.
Healer – Sub-type of support, includes Mercy, Ana, Zenyatta and Lúcio, due to them being characters with abilities that allow them to heal other heroes.
Hitscan – Refers to a type of weapon in all shooter games, Overwatch included. Hitscan weapons, instead of actually launching a physical projectile in-game, have a travel speed metric and use an algorithm to calculate whether that projectile would hit the thing you were aiming at when pulling the trigger. Many primary attacks are hitscan. Generally considered inferior to actual-projectile methods, but is less process-intensive.
Hog – Shorthand for Roadhog.
Hooked – Refers to a character who has been caught by Roadhog’s hook attack.
HPS – Acronym for heals per second, refers to number of hitpoints restored, similarly to how DPS denotes points of damage dealt over a second.
Impact – The influence of a player on the outcome of a patch. Greater impact means you contributed more to success (or defeat, in a negative case).
Impact Frag/Elimination – Similar to the above term, but refers to one specific kill or multi-kill which has a significant effect on the match, such as turning the tide.
Instalocking – The act of instantly selecting a preferred hero on the selection screen instead of waiting out for the team to discuss a comp, or waiting to pick a hero appropriate to the situation based on other picks. Almost a Hanzo main-level offense.
Jolt – See Boop/Enviro.
King of the Hill/KOTH – Alternate term for maps designed for the Control game mode.
Kiting – Technique where you keep an enemy chasing you but stay just out of range for them to attack you.
Lag –  The phenomenon where a poor internet connection causes a player to experience in-game events with a delay, thus impacting their performance.  An excuse used by poor players.
Leaver – Player who leaves mid-match, putting their team at a disadvantage until they are backfilled or the match ends. Generally despised members of Overwatch society. Blizzard has enacted leaver penalties to discourage such tomfoolery.
LFT – Acronym for “looking for team”, usually seen on Overwatch community sites where players without regular teams are looking for one in order to not have to play with randoms all the time.
Lit – When a player/hero is “lit”, it means they are at very low health and are therefore an easy target.
LOS – Acronym for “line of sight”, which is the area of the game world which is visible on your screen at an given time.
Low – see Lit.
M1 – Refers to the primary fire, due to the binding of it being mouse button one (left click).
M2 – Refers to secondary fire, due to the binding of it being mouse button two (right click).
Main – Refers to the specific hero which the given players prefers to play over all others, and/or is most skilled with.
Map out – Refers to a kill achieved by knocking an enemy player out of the map’s bounds, typically off a ledge. See Boop.
Meta – Refers to the metagame, which amounts to the amalgamation of the unspoken rules upheld by players, the current dominant team composition and strategy, preferred heroes based on current balance iterations and tactics. Often influenced by pro players.
Microwaved – Refers to a player who has sustained damage from Symmetra’s Photon Projector. Coined due to the animation and sound effect of the mentioned weapon.
Monkey – Refers to Winston. Obviously.
Nano – Refers to Ana’s ultimate ability, Nano boost.
Nano(insert ability here) – Often used as a callout when an ability of a player is augmented by Ana’s Nano boost buff. Most often used to denote stronger ultimate abilities (nanoblade = Genji’s Dragonblade augmented with Nano boost).
Nope – The cancellation of an ultimate ability, not through a counter, but rather by way of elimination. Used either as a follow-up to an ult announcement or used as a verb (“I noped [hero]”) when announcing that you performed the noping.
Nuked – Refers to the situation when D.Va’s ultimate ability, self-destruct, killed part of, or the entirety of, a team.
One Life Rule/OLR – On the defense team this unspoken rule is applicable usually on higher levels of play, such as among pro teams or in the upper echelons of competitive. It refers to the scenario where, if the enemy punches through your defensive formation, chances are they’ll also wipe most, if not all, your heroes in the process, and will be able to do a 6-man capture, in which case even waiting for respawn just once takes far too long to prevent their victory.
One-hit –  Refers to an attack which on its own could kill an enemy.  Refers to an enemy player with only 1 HP remaining who is therefore a priority target, see Lit.  Refers to an enemy player with 25-50 HP who is misconstrued by a player to be eligible for being called Lit.
OP – Acronym for Over-powered, refers to heroes who have been given a marked advantage over their peers due to the current state of the game’s balance or meta.
Orbed – Refers to a player who is affected by Zenyatta’s Orb of Discord. See discorded.
Ori – Shorthand for Orisa.
Overextending – Refers to a team strategy which is too ambitious and thus leaves the team spread thin, providing the enemy with plenty of weak points to exploit.
Payload – The moving object players need to protect and keep moving on Escort and Hybrid maps. Considered to have transcendental powers, such as making certain players think it does not exist. Is considered a myth in some circles.
Pepper – Refers to a particular kind of attack. Instead of trying to be accurate and precise, the player fires across a wide area, blanketing the general direction with weapons fire. Used as a cover or area denial tactic, some weapons are also well suited for pepper tactics when the objective is to kill.
Phar – Shorthand for Pharah.
Pharmercy – Refers to a Pharah and Mercy duo, where Mercy uses Guardian Angel and Angelic Descent cyclically to stay in the air behind Pharah while damage boosting her or healing when necessary. Pharah already has a high damage output but with a buff as well as what amounts to a healing backpack, she becomes significantly more of an issue.
Pick – Confusingly enough, this does not refer to what heroes you select. Instead, this is shorthand for “picking off [heroes]”, in reference to a tactic where instead of large coordinated full-team vs full-team battles, individual heroes prowl around with the goal of killing off sole enemy players.
Pick Comp – A team compostition designed to use a Pick strategy as outlined above, namely selecting heroes particularly adept at stalking and killing off individual enemies.
Pixie – Refers to a tactic, most often used by Tracer (But can be used by any hero with sufficiently high mobility) which seeks to contest a point even when outnumbered. While the friendly players respawn and travel back to the control point, the designated “pixie” needs to run around the CP while simply not dying in order to prevent the enemies from capturing it.
Pocket – Refers to the tactic where one support hero is assigned to another hero and focus only on the hero they are assigned, no-one else. Almost exclusively refers to Mercy.
Point to Payload/PTP/P2P – Refers to hybrid Assault/Control maps.
Poke/Poke at the Choke – An anti-choke tactic used by the attacking team who are forced to advance through a chokepoint. Instead of rushing into the killzone, they advance slowly, with the goal of baiting the waiting defensive team into looking out every now and then to get a sense of the situation and suffer trash damage, or get lured out entirely.
POTG – Acronym for Play of the Game, a short video recap awarded for a particular move made by a player that is the flashiest or most visually impressive. Though intended to be an award of sorts, achieving POTG is actually looked down upon by many players as doing so almost always means the player in question disregarded strategy and the objective.
Pro Genji –  Refers to a really, really good Genji player.  Refers to a really, really bad Genji player.
PUG – Acronym for “pick up group”, a term with multiple meanings depending on use:  Instructs Mercy to perform a 5-man rez to “pick up” the rest of the group; now defunct due to changes to the Resurrect ability.  Used to tell a player who has been separated from the rest of the team to rejoin them.
Q – Refers to the secondary ability bound to the Q key.
QP – Acronym for Quick Play.
Rando(m) – Players encountered in quick play whom you have had no prior interaction with and do not know them. Generally used in a negative manner (” I’m tired of playing with randos all the time”).
Rat – Shorthand for Junkrat.
Reap – Shorthand for Reaper.
Rein – Shorthand for Reinhardt.
Regroup – Called out to instruct far-flung players to rejoin the team.
Rez – Refers to Mercy’s Resurrect ability.
Salt – Refers to rage, anger or bitterness displayed by players. Someone who is salty is overly cranky, critical and confrontational.
Shield – Blanket term both for shields and barriers in the game, can be confusing for new players.
Shift – Refers to the secondary ability bound to the shift key.
Slapped – The Bastardized version of Slept, spread due to mishearings of the original term.
Slept – Refers to a player who has been hit by Ana’s sleep dart.
Smurf – Alternate account used in skewing skill rating. Players create Smurf accounts and purposefully achieve low SR, then group with the main accounts of their buddies to lower the SR average of the team, meaning they would gain more at the end of the match, then the user of the smurf rotates so that everyone’s main account benefits.
Snipe –  To attack from a very long range.  To steal someone’s kill, where they put in the effort to lower an enemy’s health, but you get in the killing blow.
Solo –  Player who joins matches without knowing anyone and without a team. In this situation, to them, you are a Rando, but from your perspective, you are playing solo and they are the Randos.  Player who drifts away from the team and usually operates alone, either because their hero is suited for this task and it is part of the strategy (Reaper) or because of poor sportsmanship and an inability to work together with their team.
Solo Meta –  Subset of Meta, refers to the typical hero choices and strategies players without their usual teams should use.  A game situation where a team is completely disorganized, everyone picks heroes with no regards to the team comp and everyone ends up blaming each other for their inevitable failure.
Solo Queue – Queueing for a match alone, with no party, and subsequently playing with Randos.
Solo Ult –  Using an ult when only one enemy is around.  Using and ult when no other friendlies are around.
Som(b) – Shorthand for Sombra.
Space Jam – Refers to using Graviton Surge and Meteor Strike in unison. This particular term has grown from commonplace in-game usage to become accepted E-Sports casting slang.
Splash Damage – The odd go-between point damage and AOE, kind of like plasma goes between solid and liquid. Deals damage over a slightly larger area and not in a direct straight line ahead of you but still not enough to warrant calling it AOE, e.g. Junkrat’s grenades.
Stack(ing) – The practice of more than one players in the same team playing as the same hero. 6-man stacks, for example, see an entire team of the same hero. Used in the past as joke runs, no longer allowed in Quick and Competitive play (unfortunately).
Squishy – Refers to a hero with a low health pool and no abilities which decrease incoming damage.
Super – Alternate word for ultimate ability.
Super Shimada Brothers/ SSB – Refers to Genji and Hanzo, who in the lore are brothers and have the family name Shimada.
Sym –Shorthand for Symmetra.
Syncro Suicide – Refers to the last living member of a team deliberately killing themselves in order to respawn at the same time as his mates for a unified push, instead of either dying later leaving his side at a disadvantage, or survive only to lure enemy players after him preventing an effective formation or strategy from being set up.
Tac – Refers to Soldier: 76’s Tactical Visor ability.
Tag – Refers to a technique where a player simply hops into the active zone of a capture point in order to reset overtime even if they know they won’t be able to stay there. Used both as a diversion tactic and a way to win some time.
Tank – One of the hero roles, tanks are generally high-survivability heroes designed to soak up damage and protect other players while pushing the front line further and further ahead.
Throw –  When someone throws a match, they deliberately attempt to lose, either by just taking their hands off the controls, repeatedly killing themselves or purposefully offering no resistance. This can be done for a number of reasons, none of them mature: trolling, doctoring SR for a smurf or used as a threat to your own teammates in order to enforce your personal desires regarding strategy or hero selections.  Used in Competitive matches where, when the enemy gets an early lead, the other team ceases to take the match seriously since they’ve “already lost”. This is a fallacy since there are several recovery mechanics built into the game.
Tilted –  Refers to the phenomenon where a players begins to play poorly due to anger; their state of mind of negatively affecting their performance.  Refers to the feeling of rage or anger experienced after a match that went particularly poorly, most often due to the fault of other players. An accepted side effect of playing Competitive.
Tion – Shorthand for Bastion.
Toblerone – Mocking nickname for Torbjörn.
Torb – Shorthand for Torbjörn.
Toxic – Refers to players with particularly bad manners, who constantly swear, blame others, troll, grief and generally act like asshats. See salt.
Trash Damage – Refers to damage dealt that doesn’t actually have much of an impact on the game because either it is healed back, or an overwhelming attack from another team-mate achieves what the trash damage is unable to. Used as a pejorative, primarily due to how it skews damage stats and therefore medals.
Trickling – Refers to players running into a kill zone one by one instead of as a team. See Conga line.
Turret –  Refers to either Torbjörn’s or Symmetra’s turrets.  Refers to either Torbjörn or Symmetra, the heroes themselves.
Ult(i) – Alternate term for ultimate ability.
Ult Ready/UR – Refers to the term “ultimate ready”, meaning the player’s ultimate ability has charged and can be used.
Ult Stack – Refers to several ultimate abilities being triggered at once, usually when those ults somehow build off one another. A beyblade is an example of an ult stack.
Value – Refers to how much of an impact on the course of the match certain strategies or players have in relation to how much of an impact they actually succeed in possessing in practice. A low-value maneuver is one which had the potential of being game-changing, but was messed up and is therefore a wasted opportunity.
Wombo-Combo –  Refers to any ult stack which ends up being higly effective.  Refers to a specific type of ult stacking where the abilities stacked have highly amplified results precisely due to their cross-beneficial factors. Most often these are started with setup abilities, such as a Graviton Surge followed up by heavy damage dealing ults aimed at the enemies trapped in the gravity well.
WM – Acronym for Widowmaker.
Zar – Shorthand for Zarya.
Zen – Shorthand for Zenyatta.