Video conferencing in the English language is severely lacking in terminology: adopt “theirmute” and “yourmute” to avoid future confusion!


Video chat is now relatively widespread. Frequently, people on a chat will be muted and/or have their video off.

The Issue:

The terminology for “a person is muted” is straightforward: “muted.” However, English currently lacks short terms for “I am muted” versus “I have the audio turned off for the remote speaker.”

Additionally, there is (surprisingly) no good word that means the opposite of “muted.” “I’m muted” versus “my… audio is on? My mic is on?”

Observe the following the four video/audio settings:

  • Audio OFF (Yours): “I’m muted.”
  • Audio ON (Yours):  “I’m not muted.” or “My… mic is on.”
  • Video OFF (Yours): “My video is off.”
  • Video ON (Yours): “My video is on.”

Only the first one (“mute”) has an acceptable short word. This is a serious deficiency!

Fig. 1: The standard mic/mute/audio/video icons are also a mess. Whose audio is even on here? Is the other person’s mic on? Are you muted? Did you just turn your own speakers off? Who knows!


We need four short words to account for the different situations of video/audio settings for both the local and remote speaker.

Perhaps we could use these:

  • Audio OFF (Yours): “I’m muted.”
  • Audio ON (Yours):  “I’m miconed.” (From “mic on” + “-ed”)
  • Video OFF (Yours): “I’m vicoved.” (Short for “video is covered.”)
  • Video ON (Yours): “I’m vidon.” (Short for “video on.”)

See Figure 2 for a list of possible alternative terminology that also distinguishes who has the audio/video off.

Fig. 2: This terminology should make things much clearer!


We can remove a few words from the English language to make room for these new ones that are more applicable to the modern world. On the dictionary chopping block: “scrimshaw,” “puce,” “widdershins,” and “gnomon.” Better use those words while you can, before they are removed to make room for “yourmute” and “theirmute!”

PROS: Adds new and useful words to the English language and optimizes the teleconferencing experience.

CONS: None!