What Does “IDK” Mean, and How Do You Use It?

Internet-based slang can often be incomprehensible to outsiders, with random letters seemingly thrown together in a way that makes no sense. Thankfully, sometimes, these slang words are easy and relatively self-explanatory. Such is the case with “IDK,” which is one of the oldest and most commonly used internet pieces of slang.

What does “IDK” mean?

“IDK” is easy: It simply means, “I don’t know.” There is no other magic or explanation for its use. It is simply an internet-based initialism meant to express ignorance, confusion, or a lack of knowledge about a certain subject.

The use of the term as a stand-alone initialism has long since been accepted, but there are other variations on the term that have become very wildly used, like “idc” (I don’t care) or “idts” (I don’t think so).

How long has “IDK” been used?

IDK is one of the older internet-based pieces of slang, having first appeared in 2002 or 2003. However, Google Trends apparently first recorded a significant uptick in the term’s usage around 2007.

A longer examination of the Google Trends document indicates that searches for the term reached an all-time high around March and April 2020. Some have speculated that this was a direct result of a spike in the term’s use that came from the COVID-19 pandemic.

How do you use “IDK”?

Generally speaking, IDK is kept in a lowercase form, particularly when used in a more casual context. It is often used in answer to a question and as a stand-alone response, or as part of a sentence, like, “idk what time we are supposed to go out.”

When it comes to this initialism, there’s more good news: There really isn’t a wrong way to use it. It can be used as a stand-alone text or in conjunction with a larger statement. Indeed, of all the internet-based slang, this is truly one of the easiest to use. Furthermore, like most other internet-based slang, it is not something that has any place in a more formal document.

IDK can be used in reference to a lack of knowledge about anything, be it a fact, current event, or personal plans. There is no real limit to the term’s use when it comes to using it online.

IDK can often be used in conjunction with emojis. One common example is the “shrug” emoji that features a person shrugging, with their arms extended. Of course, this isn’t required, but it can add extra emphasis to a statement about a lack of knowledge.

What Does “IMY” Mean, and How Do You Use It?

If you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who doesn’t obsessively text or use social media, then internet-based acronyms can get confusing for you. Fortunately, most of the time, internet-slang isn’t nearly as complicated or confusing as it looks, and there is likely a perfectly simple explanation for whatever odd letter combination you are looking at. One such example is the phrase “IMY.”

What Does IMY mean?

Good news: This one is simple. IMY simply stands for “I miss you.” From here, the meaning is obvious: It is used to describe when one person misses another. The openness of the phrase obviously can be used in multiple contexts, either lovingly, playfully, sarcastically, or more. However, unlike many initialisms, the history of IMY and its common use ensures that the phrases’ use is usually nothing more than a genuine expression of longing for someone else who is not around.

How long has IMY been a popular phrase?

Searches for IMY began in 2004. Unfortunately, searches spiked around the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, implying that people were using the phrase more often to describe how they missed their loved ones. This, of course, adds a tragic dynamic to the use of the phrase, as it would imply that older Americans were using it to search what their younger relatives were saying to them.

How would I use IMY?

IMY can be used in many different contexts. It can be used romantically, lovingly for family, or in a simple, friendship-oriented way. It is important to keep in mind that context matters, and it is possible that the use of this phrase can be misconstrued in a romantic or non-romantic way. Social media and texting often comes without any sort of context and obviously lacks body language or vocal tones. As such, users take care to ensure the use of this initialism is understood by the person that they are sending it to.

IMY can be used in conjunction with a sentence: “Hope you are having a wonderful time imy!!!” or as a stand-alone sentence. A simply “imy” in a text is usually enough for the sender to clearly demonstrate that they miss the person to whom they are sending the message.

IMY is usually used in an all lowercase format but can be used entirely in caps as well.

It is also worth noting that there are many off-shoots of IMY. These include ILY (I love you) or IMYT (I Miss You Too). Furthermore, some use “IMU” instead of “IMY,” thus replacing the Y with U.