If you keep seeing “IIRC” online, and you’re curious what it means, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll break down what it stands for, where it came from, and how you can use it.
What It Means
People use “IIRC” online, and it stands for “if I recall correctly” or “if I remember correctly.” Just as you would in-person, you can use it to be polite, if you’re unsure about something, or sarcastically when you answer a question or correct others.
In most cases, people use IIRC when they do remember something correctly; it’s just tacked on to keep a conversation pleasant. For example, you might answer a text from your roommate with “IIRC, you left your keys on the couch again,” or “IIRC, I was the last one to clean out the fridge.”
You can also use IIRC to add a touch of snark or sarcasm to a sentence. This is common on social media websites, like Reddit or Twitter, where people like to get creative when they talk down to others.
There are situations, though, in which someone might use IIRC because he’s genuinely unsure about something. This might happen when people don’t have time to double-check their knowledge. For example, you might answer a question in a chatroom with “You can buy a green iPhone 11, IIRC,” or something similar. You might be pretty sure Apple sells a green iPhone 11, but you’re not gonna double-check.
The meanings of “if I recall correctly,” and “if I remember correctly,” haven’t changed a bit over the hundreds of years they’ve been around. They’ve always offered a useful way to inject politeness, modesty, sarcasm, or unsureness into a sentence—especially in print, where a writer’s intention isn’t always clear.
It’s no surprise that IIRC became popular on the internet in the ’90s. IRC was all the rage, and people needed a quick, easy way to communicate feelings, like modesty or snark. IIRC was a simple solution, as its meaning is rooted in an everyday phrase. In that way, it’s very similar to the abbreviations TBH and FWIW.
How Do I Use IIRC?
IIRC is extremely easy to use. It’s a direct abbreviation, so it follows the same grammar rules as “if I remember correctly.” The only thing you need to watch out for is context.
As we mentioned earlier, you use IIRC to inject politeness, sarcasm, or uncertainty into a sentence. Your intent when you use it will depend on the context, such as the type of conversation you’re having, the person you’re talking to, and the subject you’re discussing.
Let’s say you work at a burger joint, and the boss suggests you clock out after the lunch rush. In this situation, it might be polite to tell your coworkers, “IIRC, the boss wants me to go home now.” Of course, this isn’t something you’d want to say to a customer who’s asking you for help—unless you want to be rude.
If you choose to use IIRC in the future, you’ll find it’s common enough that most people know what you mean. Just watch out for context, and, hey, IIRC will come in handy whenever someone asks you what FWIW means.