Originating in the early 1980's, leet speak was first used by hackers as a way to prevent their websites/newsgroups from being found by simple keyword searches.
Leet speak grew and became popular in online games such as Doom in the early 1990's as a way of suggesting that you were a hacker (h4x0r), and therefore to be feared.
Leet, or 1337, is a short form of "elite," commonly used by video gamers to suggest that they are skilled.
Leet: l337
Hacker: h4x0r
skills: s|<1llz
Own: Pwn
by Jess (and her m4a1) June 3, 2005
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When the 1st l33t sp34k hit the scene in the very early 80's it didn't use all the annoying ?|}{)\ and crap they put as subs for letters today. It just occasionally subbed some numbers for letters so that normal searches and bots, ect. would not pick up the pattern. It has been changed into something entirely stupid and unreadable by wannabe, lazy kids today. Same with lol and rotflmao and such. Been around since 300 baud n00bs.....
If j00 w3r3 r34lly l33t j00d kn0w it n00b.

This sentence would have been a bit overkill even then for leet speak. Most would have written it like:

If you w4s l33t u'd kn0w noob.....
by Derius December 5, 2006
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Dumbest fucking thing in the world. Not to mention it's extremely difficult to read unless you're an annoying 13 year old boy or 16 year old girl, and it often takes longer to type out words in leet than it does to regularly type them out.
13 y/o boy: "OMG ur t3h U83R H4XX0RZ!!!1!!! LEET SPEAK IS T3H 4W50M3N355!!!!11!!1!!!1"
Common Sense:"Shut the fuck up, you fucking idiot."
by My name August 13, 2006
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1337 5p34|< is a novelty form of the english language used primarily by the "ellite" group of haxorz in the early days of IRC... first start was to avoid triggering server bots and later used to promote warez... more recently used by script kiddies and those alike on game cons
1 0vv|\| 411 u 114^^45
by Eia August 31, 2004
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Lingo that lame obsessed gamers use in stead of normal english- not to be confused with abbreviations for various locations and characters within the game of choice.
Man! I just PAWND sum dum n0085 7w1nkd @55 while he was on CR to CB!!! BS for 244~~!!!
(cr= corpse run, cb=crushbone, both from everquest, not leet speek)
by dano October 18, 2003
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something for sad fucks who want to swear in chatrooms or just annoy you.
( ) /\/\ 6 ( ) /\/\ 6
ppwnned pwwneddedppwnwnnn
what the fuck am i saying?
im a sad fuck!
by rathsangatas drink November 30, 2004
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The first and simplest known origins of this out of control language were seen on calculators.
The number 71077345 when viewed upside down on a calculator reads 'ShellOil'. The language progressed from there.
From ShellOil to leet.
by Diego December 8, 2003
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