Pwn is a leetspeak slang term derived from the verb own, as meaning to appropriate or to conquer to gain ownership. The term implies domination or humiliation of a rival, used primarily in the Internet-based video game culture to taunt an opponent who has just been soundly defeated (e.g., "You just got pwned!"). It was popular among Counter-Strike gamers before spreading through the more general Internet world. The past tense and past participle, pwned, may also be spelled pwnd, pwn'd, pwn3d, pwnt, poned, pawned, or powned.
In hacker jargon, pwn means to compromise or control, specifically another computer (server or PC), web site, gateway device, or application. It is synonymous with one of the definitions of hacking or cracking. The Pwnie Awards are awarded by a group of security researchers.
Popularity of the term among teenagers rose in the mid-2000s, with the spread from the Internet written form to use in spoken language.
EtymologyThe word pwn most likely came about as a common typo of the word "own" because the "p" and "o" keys are adjacent on a standard English keyboard.
PronunciationsBecause pwn is primarily used in written form, it has no single generally accepted pronunciation: renditions include /ˈoʊn/ ("ohn") (see respelling), /ˈpoʊn/ ("pohn"), /pəˈoʊn/ ("pə-ohn"), /ˈpɔːn/ ("pawn"), /piˈoʊn/ ("pee-ohn"). Originally, pwn and its variants were pronounced /ˈoʊn/) in the same way as the verb own; the tail of the p being "silent". A notable usage of this pronunciation can be seen in the Internet distributed series Pure Pwnage (pronounced "pure ownage", /ˈpjʊər ˈoʊnɨdʒ/).
Where speakers vocalize the p, pronunciations include pwen, "pwin", pawn, "pone", pun and pwone.
A friendly reminder; stop pretending that you're a genius if you don't want to get PWNED! Lol.