What Does YMMV Mean? [YMMV Acronym Definition]

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  • Post last modified:July 4, 2021

Did you receive a message from your bank or credit card company that contains the word YMMV? You might be confused about its meaning if it’s the first time you’ve seen this term. What does YMMV mean?

YMMV is an acronym for “Your Mileage May Vary.” The basic meaning of this term is one person’s experience, or view of a product or service is different from another. It is commonly used when text messaging or chatting on social media.

The term YMMV is also often used by people in online forums to refer to credit cards. In this context, YMMV may refer to offers of products or services that are only available to certain people or for a limited time.

Read on to learn more about the meaning of YMMV, its background, how it is used, and some examples of how people use this term.

What Does YMMV Mean? [YMMV Acronym Definition]

ymmv meaning

What is the YMMV meaning? YMMV is an acronym or abbreviation of the phrase “Your Miles May Vary.” Many people are now using this term in their text messages, social media, and emails. The basic meaning of this term is that you may have a different opinion or experience of a product or service than the other person.

Often, people use this term in online forums to refer to credit cards. They use this term in describing offers of products or services that are available only for a limited time or only for certain types of people.

For instance, some companies offer credit cards with no clear-cut requirements for approval. The requirements and terms for these types of credit cards may vary from the cardholder to cardholder.

YMMV is a fairly common term used in conversations. Originally, it was a helpful disclaimer in the automotive industry. The phrase “Your Miles May Vary” refers to the actual gas mileage of a vehicle.

In that sense, the term means: even if two persons drive the same car, they might not get the same mileage for a gallon of fuel because of their unique driving habits.

Background of YMMV

Most modern jargon that people use in social media and text messages was invented through the internet. But “Your Miles May Vary” originated back in the 1970s and the 1980s in the United States. At that time, US carmakers are vying to get the most mileage in their vehicles.

Your Mileage May Vary

But since they have no control over the individual driving habits of car buyers, they couldn’t find a way to guarantee the correct mileage their customers could get. As a caveat, they issue advertisements with a disclaimer that said “Your Mileage May Vary.” This is what YMMV stands for originally.

When the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) began to test new vehicles for their emissions, the results only yielded an estimate of the number of miles the new car owner might expect to get per gallon of gas for open highway driving and city driving. The expectation is that car buyer will use these approximate miles per gallon (MPG) to buy fuel-efficient cars.

However, when conducting laboratory simulations, it isn’t easy to consider all the factors. There are no definite answers to the questions:

  • Does one driver tend to drive 10 miles per hour faster than another driver?
  • Does the driver jack-rabbit their starts, using more fuel as a result?

Driver behavior is tough to predict, but it significantly impacts the MPG achieved by the vehicle. A consumer, who buys a car that claims to achieve 27 mpg on the highway, may experience a lower or a higher mpg.

Protection from Lawsuits

So, to protect themselves from lawsuits from car buyers who experience lower mpg on their new vehicles, car makers came up with a disclaimer to their advertisements. They coined the phrase “your mileage may vary” to convey the basic meaning that “it depends on how you drive the car.”

So, carmakers introduce this phrase to a new generation of car buyers. YMMV appeared in car advertisements on TV and the newspapers. The term eventually navigated itself into the daily conversation. It now conveys that actual results may not match your expectations or that people view a problem or situation from different angles and experiences.

As it happened, people used this phrase in their everyday conversation. Eventually, the phrase became a common idiom in the US. And then, in the 1990s and 2000s, the phrase became “YMMV.”

This started when people started to shorten their language on internet platforms such as the IM (instant messages) and the IRC (internet relay chat). You can now see this term in Amazon reviews, message boards, Yelp, and tweets. The use of this term is continuously growing.

How People Use YMMV Today

ymmv means

You can use YMMV in several ways. Its most common applications are the following:

1. Credit Card and Other Financial Transactions

YMMV is now widely used today in credit card transactions. The term is used as a disclaimer that satisfaction or result may vary from person to person. Those operating commercial websites’ chat rooms use this phrase to answer technical-related questions about credit card offers.

2. Reviews of Products and Services

YMMV is also used when a person asks for a particular review of a website or a product or service. This term can be written in uppercase, as in YMMV, or lower cases, as in ymmv. In whatever case they are written, they convey the same meaning.

YMMV can also be applied to products or services that may not be consistent for every purchase. For instance, if someone orders food through a mobile app, the food quality when it is delivered will probably vary, depending on how far the delivery address is from the food outlet. In this case, ‘your mileage may vary’ will depend on the recipient’s address.

Sometimes you will see YMMV in online reviews comparing products and services. In such cases, online reviewers are trying to soften readers’ expectations since personal experiences in using the product or service will really vary.

For instance, writing a review for a mobile phone, tablet, or similar gadgets might indicate that the battery’s charge will last 24 hours, but YMMV. With this phrase, the writer has conveyed the caveat that the battery’s charge depends on the user’s habit. So, if the user has the screen most of the time, the charge won’t last very long.

3. To Express Differences in Opinion

YMMV is also commonly used to express differences in viewpoints and opinions. This is especially true in giving views and opinions relating to art and entertainment. For instance, a reviewer may want to recommend a certain action-packed movie. 

They may say that the movie is “fascinating and thrilling to watch but YMMV.” The reviewer acknowledges that they consider that people’s appreciation of the movie may vary according to their tastes and perceptions.    

In this example, YMMV is a kinder version of “in my opinion” or IMO or “in my honest or humble opinion (IMHO). When used this way, YMMV refers to the fact that personal tastes can vary considerably from person to person.

Again, what does YMMV mean? What is YMMV? YMMV means “Your Mileage May/Might Vary.” People use this acronym to refer to the differences between people’s experiences, locations, or preferences. It’s similar to the acronym AFAIK: “as far as I know.” It’s also a fairly common phrase in real-world conversations.

YMMV in Financial Application

what does ymmv mean

Today, YMMV is tied to customers’ purchase experience. You can often see it in forums focused on credit card transactions and similar commercial activities. An example of this is if consumers receive a discount code for an online shop through their email. Not every person can get that code. So the recipient of the code will say, “your mileage may vary.”

Another example is someone who posted information on a message board about a certain video game. They said that the video game is available at a 50% discount at their local outlet of Best Buy.

While this information may attract video game lovers, note that hundreds of Best Buy outlets exist across the country. They may not be offering the same 50% discount on all the Best Buy locations. So, the message should include YMMV to alert people that they should soften their expectations. This is now the current YMMV definition.

YMMV at Walmart

From time to time, Walmart conducts clearance sales. These are the times when you will see YMMV in Walmart advertisements. Walmart uses this term because its clearance sale is unique from store to store.

So, if a Walmart TV ad says a product is at $50, it may not be the same price in another Walmart outlet. The price could be higher or lower in the other Walmart store. So, you should not ignore the term YMMV if you see it in Walmart ads.

You also need to be aware of this situation if you are using the Walmart app. Many people use this app to check Walmart’s clearance sales. If you choose to download this app, ensure that you set it to your local Walmart store.

Once you set the app in your local Walmart outlet, you can start searching for any item and then check for the in-store pickup tap at the bottom. If there are any clearance items available at that store, you will see a list of their clearance prices.

Be aware that the information in the app is not always 100% updated. Some clearance prices may not be on the list, or the clearance item you are looking for is unavailable. Make sure that the item you picked is available at the local store.

To repeat, at Walmart, clearance in-store is usually YMMV. That means the clearance items available at one local Walmart store may not be available at another Walmart outlet. Additionally, clearance prices and items vary widely from city to city and by region to region.

Examples of How You Can Use YMMV

To help you understand how YMMV is used in the real world, here are some examples:

Example 1

You are planning to switch from a standard hard disk drive to a solid-state hard drive for your desktop. But you don’t know if SSD will last long. So, you ask a computer tech for advice.

The computer tech might say that it depends. They may say YMMV with different models and brands and how much you will rewrite the drive.

Example 2

Somebody asks you about what kind of gas you are using in your SUV. You may answer that your vehicle uses Shell 93 octane fuel. It can give you 21 miles per gallon in the city and a maximum of 30 mpg on the highway.

The other person may be amazed at the 30 mpg you are getting on the highway. But you qualify it by saying YMMV because your vehicle switches to 90% front-wheel drive whenever you are driving it on the highway. That helps the engine economize on fuel a lot.

Other Examples

Here are some other short samples of how YMMV is used in a conversation:

  • I was able to get the $10 deal about noon at the local store, but YMMV.
  • YMMV, but the package took around four days to arrive at my door.
  • This tablet feels heavier in my hand, but YMMV.
  • I love this new single of (recording artist), but YMMV.

Conclusion: YMMV Meaning

YMMV is a modern jargon that people use to shorten their messages on social media and their emails. This word is actually an acronym for “Your Miles May Vary.” It is a term that basically states the fact that one person’s view or experience of a product or service is different from another.

You may see this word in the messages sent to you by your bank or your credit card company in financial circles. If you see YMMV in the bank’s email, it could mean the products or services they are offering are limited only for a certain time period or to certain people.