Originally the term "FAQ" referred to the Frequently Asked Question itself, and the compilation of questions and answers was known as a "FAQ list" or some similar expression. The term became more frequently used to refer to the list, and a text consisting of questions and their answers is often called a FAQ regardless of whether the questions are actually frequently asked, if they are asked at all, or if there is even any way of asking questions.

In some cases, informative documents not in the traditional FAQ style have also been described as FAQs, particularly the video game FAQ, which is often a detailed descriptions of gameplay, including tips, secrets, and beginning-to-end guidance.[5] Rarely are videogame FAQs in a question-and-answer format, although they may contain a short section of questions and answers.