What Does 420 Mean in a Text?

420 means "Cannabis."

The term 420 is often used by cannabis smokers as a way to refer discreetly to the drug.

The origin of 420 as a name for cannabis is somewhat disputed. There are a number of popular theories, including:
  • A group of teenagers who called themselves The Waldos went to a high school in San Rafael, California. They claim to have first used the term 420 in the fall of 1971 when they met every day after school at 4:20pm to smoke cannabis.
  • Bob Dylan's 1966 song "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35" contains the lyric "everybody must get stoned" as a direct reference to getting high on cannabis. If you multiply 12 & 35, the product is 420.
  • It has also been claimed that 420 is the radio code used by police to describe catching anyone smoking weed. However, this theory has been disproved. Section 420 of the California penal code actually refers to obstructing entry on public land.
Despite the disputes over its origin, the numbers 420 are symbolic to cannabis users. There is an unofficial yearly celebration observed on April 20th (4/20) and this date has also been used to stage protests & political events in favor of the legalization of the drug. Typically, frequent users of the drug will also use the time 4:20pm as a daily excuse to smoke cannabis.

As a result of the popularity and significance of 420, mile marker and street signs bearing the number are frequently targets of theft. The states of Colorado & Idaho had to remove or replace their mile marker 420 signs because of this issue.

Image for 420

When I write 420, I mean this:

meaning of 420

420 is a discreet way of referring to cannabis.

Summary of Key Points

"Cannabis" is the most common definition for 420 on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Type:Slang Word (Jargon)
Guessability:guessability level 4
4: Difficult to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Examples of 420 in Sentences

Here are examples of 420 being used in conversations:
  • Stoner A: Don't you just love 420?
  • Stoner B: Of course I do! It is my favorite day of the year and time of the day!
  • Stoner A: What are you doing for 420 this year?
  • Stoner B: Same thing I do every day, dude.

An Academic Look at 420

420 is defined as an internet slang term because its characters are used as substitutes for letters (in this case, 420 replaces the date April 20th, or the time 4.20 pm).

Most "slang terms" were introduced to reduce the number of key strokes required to write a word or phrase. However, since the arrival of predictive texting and keyboards on mobile devices, this efficiency is no longer required.

Using Numbers in Texts

This video shows the different ways that numbers are used in "text speak":

Example of 420 Used in a Text

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