A guide to Overwatch competitive/esports phrases and jargon

Overwatch (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Blizzard Entertainment's hit hero shooter Overwatch is often played in competitive formats. Due to this, many of the game's players put themselves in focused mindsets during gameplay, trying their best to encourage teamwork and win the match. One of the most effective ways this is done is by using quick and clear voice communication to convey information or suggest what the rest of the team should do.

As time has gone on, certain phrases and words have become popular amongst members of the community — but to new or casual players, these may seem confusing. Thankfully, I've been playing the game's competitive mode since it launched, and I've got a strong grasp on everything you'll hear on the voice chat in-game. Here's my comprehensive guide to competitive phrases and jargon in Overwatch.

Phrases: Important information you need to understand

The phrases you'll hear from many teammates in matches is intended to get relevant information across to everyone on the team quickly, and you comprehending it can mean the difference between a fight being won or lost. Here are the most common phrases and what they mean.

"[Target] is lit/one!"

When someone on the team says this, they're explaining that a player on the enemy team is about to die and that everyone should focus them down to confirm a kill.

"Use, use, use!"

This means the player wants the team (or whoever they specifically mention) to use their ultimate abilities in the current fight.

"Stop trickling in!"

"Trickling" in Overwatch is when individual members of the team rush into the enemy one at a time, instead of regrouping and fighting together. Therefore, this phrase means the player wants everyone to wait until everyone has respawned and regrouped before attacking.


This phrase is used when a player is telling the rest of the team that it looks possible to win the current fight.

"Press W! Press W!"

This one is the less common than the others, but it's risen in popularity recently. Essentially, the player saying this wants everyone to push forward, hence the reference to the forward movement key on PC. Sometimes, even console players may say this, despite using a controller.

"Go dive/deathball/GOATS!"

When a player says this, they want the team to swap over to one of three team compositions: dive, deathball, or GOATS. Dive is made up of mobile heroes, like Winston, Genji, and Tracer. It's named after the way these heroes can "dive" onto a target. Deathball is made up of ground-based characters like Reinhardt, Zarya, and Lucio. It's named after the way everyone bunches up behind Reinhardt's shield in a "ball" formation. Lastly, there's GOATS, which is named after the team that invented the strategy. This composition is made of three tank and three support heroes. There's many heroes played in GOATS, but the ones crucial to the strategy are Lucio and Brigitte.

Jargon: It's good to know the lingo

While the phrases of Overwatch are strictly meant for in-game situations, you may hear these terms both in the game and outside of it. They're not as important as phrases, but it's still good to know them so you can understand what other players say in conversation.


When someone says they're "tilted," it means that they're angry or getting angry at the game.


The term "throwing" refers to someone who is intentionally trying to lose the match.


The word "cooldown" is a reference to hero abilities. This is rooted in the way that abilities have a period where you can't use them for a while after doing so.


"Boop" is a knock-back ability in the game that can forcefully move players, such as Lucio's alternate fire and Orisa's Halt.


"Squishy" refers to any non-tank hero. This is because they have lower health and die easier.


A "smurf" is somebody who acquired a new account in order to have a clean slate with Overwatch's matchmaking algorithms. They're typically good players trying to bully the lower ranks, so many players in those ranks that play well will be accused of "smurfing."


If a player is playing poorly at high ranks, some may call them "boosted," which is an accusation that the player paid someone else to rank up for them. Someone who does this is called a "booster."

Your thoughts

Are there any jargon terms we may have missed? Are there ones specific to your region that you'd like to share? Hit the comments below.

Overwatch is available now on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.