What Does OTP Mean? The Abbreviation Explained

, Staff Writer
Updated October 5, 2021
Paparazzi Taking Pictures of Kissing Couple OTP Abbreviation Explained
    Paparazzi Taking Pictures of Kissing Couple OTP Abbreviation Explained
    Patrik Giardino / Stone / Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

If you are involved in any kind of fandom on the internet or follow anyone who is, you may have encountered the term OTP. This abbreviation is a favorite of many in fan spaces because it means “One True Pair/Pairing,” often referring to a fictional couple that the fan loves. Discover the history of this abbreviation and how it’s used in online spaces.

OTP as an Abbreviation

OTP (or otp) is an initialism where each letter stands for a word and is pronounced individually. It is usually used in writing but can be used in spoken conversation. Fans of a specific movie, TV show, book, or franchise will often use OTP in online discussions known as “shipping” where fans state which characters they think work well together or who they want to get together romantically. These pairings are often characters that are not explicitly paired together, but rather characters that the fans like together regardless of what is canon. While it is typically used for fictional characters, it is sometimes used to describe real-life couples.


History of OTP

The earliest known usage of OTP can be traced to LiveJournal in October 2002 in reference to the pairing of Joey/Lance from the boy band NSYNC, although it is possible the term originated earlier. The abbreviation OTP gained popularity in the 2010s in online spaces and peaked in 2015.

Other Meanings of OTP

Outside of fandom slang, OTP has several other meanings and uses. The most common include:

  • On The Phone

  • One-Trick Pony

  • One-Time Password

Examples and Usage of OTP

When using OTP to describe your “one true pairing,” the tone is often light and casual, as it is most frequently used in online fan spaces.

  • That couple is my OTP.

  • I love them! They’re my OTP.

  • Who’s your OTP: Bella and Edward or Bella and Jacob?

  • I know she ends up with Ron, but Harry/Hermione has always been my OTP.

  • Who’s your OTP in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe)?

  • What’s the most popular OTP on the internet?

You can use OTP to mean “on the phone” in text messages like these examples:

  • Hang on, I’m OTP.

  • She’s OTP right now, but I’ll have her call you.

  • Sorry I didn’t reply. I was OTP.

OTP can also mean "one-time password." You may receive alerts about a temporary password such as:

  • I can’t remember my password. I have to use an OTP.

  • Use an OTP, and then set up an account.

  • We’ll send you an OTP, so you can change your password.


There are many abbreviations similar to OTP that you can use in online conversations to talk about your favorite (or least favorite) couples.

  • NOTP - Not One True Pairing (the opposite of OTP)

  • BROTP - Bro True Pairing (a pairing the fan likes as “bros” or friends)

  • TTP - Two True Pairings (when the fan has two couples in a fandom that they enjoy equally)

  • OTL - One True Love