Want To Prep But Not Sure Where To Begin?

Sign Up for Our Newsletter and Get Your FREE One Year Urban Survival Plan!

    We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

    What Does TEOTWAWKI Mean?

    This post may contain affiliate links.* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Click here to read our affiliate policy.
    Print Friendly, PDF & Email

    Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

    What Does TEOTWAWKI Mean?

    There are so many acronyms in our world that sometimes it is hard to remember what everything stands for. However, TEOTWAWKI is one acronym that you may want to pay attention to in the future, given its ability to uproot and change our lives forever. 

    The acronym TEOTWAWKI stands for ‘the end of the world as we know it,” with each letter of the abbreviation standing for the corresponding word. TEOTWAWKI isn’t necessarily a spoken word but rather used in writing as a symbol that the world will forever change. While this abbreviation usually makes most of us think about R.E.M’s famous song, It's The End of the World, it has a much less upbeat meaning.

    TEOTWAWKI is a red flag to those preppers and homesteaders who always have their eye on the world’s activities. It doesn’t mean that the world will end, per se, but it does mean that the world will drastically change.

    Learn more about what is usually considered a TEOTWAWKI event with these examples.

    Want to save this post for later? Click Here to Pin It On Pinterest!


    Does this sound familiar? The COVID-19 pandemic is an excellent example of TEOTWAWKI. While many of us are still very much alive and unscathed, it doesn’t mean that our world hasn’t changed. Life has forever been altered by this unruly pandemic that is always a hot topic of conversation. 

    Pandemics pose a credible health problem and drastically alter many aspects of our daily everyday lives. We are worried about large gatherings and have learned a lot about the different options for hand sanitizers . We have limited our errands and stay away from others as much as possible.

    Young Woman Wearing Mask Alone In Theater

    While the pandemic has changed our everyday routines, it has also changed our overall psyche. We all think about germs and the spread of viruses much more than we did before the pandemic. Many of us watch TV shows that show large groups of people and subconsciously wonder where their masks are. Pandemics are the perfect example of TEOTWAWKI.

    World Wars

    While many of us may have relatives who fought in world wars, the reality of a world war now is something that we haven’t personally witnessed. The fear that comes with war combined with the shipping out of millions of soldiers would have a TEOTWAWKI impact on every community. World wars not only take people away from home, but they also have a significant effect on the food and material supply. 

    Some would argue that any world war in modern times would be much different than those of the past. The addition of technology would require fewer soldiers on the ground. However, a world war with our current technological abilities would almost be scarier than those of decades ago, given that the war could come to our own front steps. 

    Nuclear Weapons

    The use of nuclear weapons is a definite TEOTWAWKI situation. Not only would the weapons annihilate millions of people, but they also would significantly impact the surrounding areas for years to come. Since the arrival of the two nuclear bombs in WWII, atomic weapons have been a hot topic of discussion for many countries.

    It is estimated that 9 countries now hold nuclear capabilities with at least one nuclear weapon in their possession. Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea all hold nuclear weapons in addition to the United States. If all of those countries choose to enter a nuclear war, it will devastate the globe.

    Economic Collapse

    While we’ve had our fair share of economic collapses in recent years, with the real estate crash of 2008 and the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us still haven’t undergone the effects of a true economic collapse of depression-era proportions. If you have grandparents or great grandparents that grew up in the depression, you know that the rest of their lives were often spent pinching pennies, eating frugally, and socking away money for a rainy day.

    Financial Crisis Headlines

    This is a great example of how an economic collapse can create a TEOTWAWKI situation. For many people in the depression era, life was literally never the same, even though the economy greatly improved. TEOTWAWKI situations tend to change our mentality and always linger in the back of our minds for the rest of our lives. 

    Electromagnetic Pulses

    Our entire world now runs on an incredible amount of technology. Electrical and computer panels control everything from our cars to our homes to even our door locks. While most would argue that technology has created a better society, it also has given us a crutch to rely upon. 

    Many preppers believe that an electromagnetic pulse, or an EMP, would quickly become a TEOTWAWKI situation. A nuclear EMP is a burst of electromagnetic radiation that could easily knock off electrical systems and radar. It can also corrupt data stored on computers that are used to run many of our technological systems.

    Many preppers believe that an EMP is more of a threat to our high reliance on technology. The detriment to our financial system alone would quickly cause problems for many people who don’t store cash or gold under their mattresses or in their backyard

    Some homesteaders and preppers may consider other situations, like natural disasters, as an end of the world scenario. While these disasters greatly disrupt life in a specific targeted area, they don’t affect the country or the world as a whole.

    TEOTWAWKI situations are usually reserved for those disasters that happen on a country or global scale. After a natural disaster, many communities rebuild, and it is hard to see the effects of the disaster years down the road. In contrast, the true end-of-the-world scenarios change the way we live life moving forward.

    If this past year has taught us anything, it is that life as we know it can change in an instant. The recent COVID-19 pandemic interrupted many of our lives and drastically changed how we live, eat, travel, and communicate. For preppers and homesteaders, this current TEOTWAWKI situation has caused us to double down on our gardening and storage efforts to better equip our land and homes with the needed items for self-sufficiency. 

    Like this post? Don't Forget to Pin It On Pinterest!

    You May Also Like:

    Want To Prep But Not Sure Where To Begin?

    Sign Up for Our Newsletter and Get Your FREE One Year Urban Survival Plan!

      We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

      Notify of
      Oldest Most Voted
      Inline Feedbacks
      View all comments