1337, pronounced “Leet” and also known as “eleet” or “leetspeak” refers to a system of modified spelling, used mostly online.
The writing system uses numbers and glyphs to replace characters of the alphabet and is primarily utilized by online gaming and hacking communities.
Origin of the term
The phrase originates from the 1980’s, when it was introduced on the Bulletin Board Systems also known as BBS-es.
Having a “1337” status on these systems meant that a user may access folders, games and special chat rooms, that are restricted to others.
While initially it was used solely by hackers and crackers, the phrase and the system grew mainstream over the years.
Spread of the term
During the 2000’s, the slang expressions, used by the “1337” community started emerging in the mainstream, especially on image boards and forums, like that of 4chan and Reddit.
The most popular expressions of “1337” talk is pr0n, referring to adult films, as well as n00b, a pejorative slang term, derived from the word “newbie”.
“1337” was first defined on Urban Dictionary in 2003.