SMH Explained: What does “SMH” mean and should I use it?

Written by   (author of Obvious Conclusions)  |  Date Updated: September 20, 2021

smh-meaning-shaking-my-headIf you are wondering what SMH means and want to make sure that you’re using it correctly, I’m going to explain everything about the term “SMH”, when you should use it, and perhaps most importantly, when you should not use it…so you don’t make a fool of yourself (examples below).

We’ve all seen scenarios in which people use terms or expressions completely out of context. And this is why I need to explain to you what “SMH” means. I want to save you from yourself.

Most of us know, for example, what YOLO means, but the newer social media acronyms like SMH leave us confounded and sometimes rebuked.

I’m reminded of a mother who recently responded to a “RIP” (Rest In Peace) notice on Facebook with an “LOL”.

You see the problem. She responded with Lots of Laughter to someone’s death when she thought she was sharing Lots of Love. In a twisted way, I guess we could respond with an LOL to this scenario.

Which brings us to SMH.

Suppose another mother, seeing an RIP notice, responds with an SMH thinking it means “Sharing my Heart”.

Yes, SMH is an acronym but it does not mean Sharing My Heart. SMH means…

What Does SMH Mean?

SMH is an acronym that means Shaking My Head and is usually used in text or social media conversations to express a sense of disbelief.

When to Use SMH: The Perfect Example

Let me give you a perfect example of SMH.

Let’s say that your friend Ana decided that she was never going to see her ex Brian again – like ever again – and you find yourself texting with Ana on Sunday morning.

You: OMG Ana, you totally disappeared at the party last night.

Ana: OMG, you’ll never believe it. I hooked up with Brain again!

You: SMH!

Boom, you’ve nailed SMH.

Your friend Ana swore up and down she would never see Brian again and the only thing that you can do is shake your head at her obvious misstep.

This is the perfect use of SMH. Now that you’ve mastered Shaking Your Head, you should use it wherever appropriate in text, social media, and – yes! – even as a Twitter hashtag. #SMH!

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the uses, history, and alternatives to Shaking your Head.

Other SMH Meanings: Beyond “Shaking My Head”

    1. Shake My Head
    2. Social Media Hotdog
    3. Stupid Minded Humans
    4. So Much Hate
    5. Share My Heart — Just created here in this post 😉
    6. Sydney Morning Herald  – Australian NewsPaper

Is SMH an Insult?

The SMH response on your part implies that the person did something rather stupid so, yes, SMH could be interpreted as an insult.  However, since we all do stupid things from time-to-time, SMH can be taken as good-natured ribbing among friends.

How do you pronounce SMH?

You will never need to pronounce the term “SMH” since it’s only used in message texts and social media.  But, if you must pronounce it, here’s a whole video dedicated exclusively to this topic.

How do you say “SMH” ?

SMH Pronunciation

How To Use #SMH in a Tweet: An Example

Here a perfect tweet from a user named Juancho with the #SMH hashtag.

How to Use #SMH on Facebook: An Example

Mike Pence Has Mastered the Visual #SMH

Let’s conclude with our esteemed (#SMH) Vice President.

If you have read my other political writings, such as my reaction to the 2016 election, you may realize that I am not the biggest Trump fan.

But I must say Mike Pence has one of the best shaking my head routines in the business.  Take a look.


Mike Pence #SMH says so many different things:  I’m not going to answer that question, why aren’t you a God-fearing being like me, I can’t be in another room with anyone other than my wife, what comes next is a lie…give your reaction to Mike Pence shaking my head in the comments below.

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Richard Cummings

Richard Cummings is a writer, traveler, and web content developer.

Get your copy of his latest book entitled Obvious Conclusions, stories of a Midwestern emigrant influenced and corrupted by many years living in San Francisco and abroad. It just received its first outstanding review "...reminiscent of David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs" on Amazon UK.
Richard Cummings
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Richard CummingsSMH Explained: What does “SMH” mean and should I use it?

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