Advertisement

What does 'irl' mean? Help distinguish reality from fiction with this text term.

Social media has meant that slang is developing faster than possibly ever before.

While these terms help shorten communication and make conversations more to the point, they are not always easy to understand. That's why we're here to help.

"ICYMI", USA TODAY has been breaking down text slang. We've already covered various explainers on different phrases, such as "rizz" and "smh."

Now, it's time to learn a new one. Here is the meaning and how to use "irl."

What does 'irl' mean?

"IRL" (pronounced I-R-L) stands for "in real life." The abbreviation is often used in informal messaging, such as via DM or texting. It distinguishes real life from online interactions, or from fantasy or fiction.

Like other slang, "IRL" has its origins on the internet. The term helped people describe what was actually occurring in their lives offline versus what was happening online, according to Grammarly.

Now, "IRL" is used in a broader sense, representing the difference between what has or hasn't happened in reality. It can also be used to point out how something or someone is in real life in comparison to how they come across online or in media.

How to use 'irl'

Here are some examples of how to use "irl":

  • "We matched on Hinge and have been messaging for a while, but I still haven't met them irl."

  • "I can't wait until we see The Jonas Brothers perform irl next week."

  • "I ran into that influencer you were talking about the other day. She was really nice irl."

Just Curious for more? We've got you covered

USA TODAY is exploring the questions you and others ask every day. From "How to make cold brew" to "What is the biggest ocean?" to "How to reopen closed tabs", we're striving to find answers to the most common questions you ask every day. Head to our Just Curious section to see what else we can answer for you.

Want to learn? Catch up on more text slang explainers:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: What does 'IRL' mean? Here's how to use the text slang.