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SMH Mean On Instagram


What Does SMH Mean On Instagram? A Guide To Common Acronyms And Slang

Not all acronyms and slang on social platforms are guessable; some require you to dive deeper into their meaning and lookup help in translating them, and “SMH” is one of them. 

SMH is more of a real-life thing we all do in certain situations, and it is almost impossible to communicate with the standard emoji options. 

While SMH is a commonly used acronym across all different social platforms, it means the same thing wherever you find it. 

The Meaning and Usage of “SMH”

SMH means “Shake my Head” or “Shaking My Head,” a tricky phrase to guess by simply analyzing the context in which it comes.

However, when saying “Shake my head,” creators are not referring to the head nod used to confirm a specific situation. Instead, the head shakes we’re discussing are a reaction to something disappointing or when left speechless. 

SMH conveys a sense of impatience with someone or something deemed unnecessary, stupid, or foolish.

When watching something you don’t know how to react to or are disappointed by how silly it may be, you comment SMH. 

In captions, the acronym is put at the beginning or end to express how the creator feels about a specific situation, statement, or thing. 

The Origin of “SMH”

Nobody knows where SMH originated from, but it was used in chats and texts long before Instagram or TikTok were around. 

The slang or acronym dates back to before emojis offered a wide array of options to express yourself and evolved to be incorporated into today’s internet slang and jargon. 

Although the acronym has been thrown around longer than we can recall, it is usually only understood by Gen Z and some millennials.

How to Use “SMH”’ in Content Creation

You can use SMH in various ways when creating content with the intention of expressing the silliness or stupidity of the situation. 

SMH in captions:

In captions, SHM is often placed at the end or beginning of a statement as the following:

 “SMH, this guy lost his mind.” or “This hotel is not it, SMH.” 

You can also use “SMH” in captions the same way that you’d caption something “no caption needed.” It’s yet another way to say you’re speechless, or the situation speaks for itself. 

SMH in Comments

In comments, you can use SMH the same way you would in captions, but for reasons to express that you find something relatively weird or disapprove of it. 

You can comment “SMH with the slapping face emoji” on your friend’s post to tell them that you’re not feeling their content or that it’s out-of-context. 

As a comment, SMH is considered a negative reaction and is something your friend or favorite creator would want to see in the comment section. 

The following video examples describe the perfect use of “SMH” and how to incorporate it into your content appropriately.

The best example is given by Mr. Beast hopping on the “It’s cool when they do it” trend, posting a video captioned nothing but “SMH” and a description “When I ask a subscriber for money.” Mr. Beast uses the SMH caption in this example to elaborate upon the foolishness of the sarcastic situation. 

However, in this example, renatabortoleti uses the acronym to express disappointment in how her mother wore her outfit better than her with the caption, “Looks better on her than on me SMH.”


Bro started traffic smh #funnyfail #trafficjam #shoutoutot (h/t jdm_vids/IG)

♬ dancin – dhn

Finally, Overtime posts a TikTok video of a bus driver making the worst “U-turn” causing traffic in both lanes of the highway, and captions it  “Bro started traffic smh.” 

In this case, the creator is using the acronym to emphasize one of two things, either how bad the driver is or how disappointing his U-turn was. 


Finally, using SMH in your content is a fun way to express speechlessness and grow closer to your young audience. 

The acronym is only written in its abbreviated form and is rarely written as “Shake my Head.” You can use it in comments or captions to show that you’re in tune with the latest slang and know how to utilize trendy phrases. 

Nobody knows where SMH came from or how it all started, but everyone uses the acronym online, and if you haven’t yet, this is your sign to start. 

Whether chatting to your friend or posting a TikTok try playing around with the popular acronym and see if it makes any difference in engagement and the number of comments you get. 

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David Adler is an entrepreneur and freelance blog post writer who enjoys writing about business, entrepreneurship, travel and the influencer marketing space.

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