"IKR" in white font on top of an explosion graphic.

“IKR” is popular internet slang you often see on social media and in one-on-one texts or chats. If you want to know what it means, where it came from, and how to use it in conversation, we’ve got the skinny.

What Does It Mean?

IKR is an abbreviation for the phrase, “I know, right?” It’s rhetorical and indicates that you agree with someone’s opinion or observation.

Most people use IKR as an alternative to saying “Yes” or “I know.” However, it also conveys a sense of relief that someone else shares your thoughts or opinions about something.

Where Did It Come From?

The colloquial phrase, “I know, right?” has been around since the 1990s. It’s strongly associated with the “Valley girl” stereotype, but gained more popularity in 2004 when the movie Mean Girls was released.

It appears people also started to use the abbreviation “IKR” shortly after the film came out. This makes sense, as the “Valley girl” stereotype became intertwined with texting culture during the mid-2000s. There was an abbreviation for everything in 2004, so a phrase as popular as “I know, right?” definitely had to have one.

IKR was first added to Urban Dictionary in 2005, and the original definition reads like a quote from Mean Girls. However, according to Google Trends, IKR didn’t gain serious popularity until 2009 (although, I remember it being very popular prior to this), and it’s held a steady place in our vocabulary since then.

Today, IKR is no longer thought of as Valley girl slang or a movie quote. It’s just a useful internet initialism you can use when you strongly agree with someone. It might not have the noblest of origins, but, like any good initialism, IKR helps people communicate more quickly.

How Do You Use It?

A man intently staring at his laptop.

Using IKR is easy—just use it whenever you want to say, “I know, right?” If someone says, “I hate how dogs smell,” you might say, “IKR? I would never let a dog in my house!” If you want to be snarky, you could say “IKR?” after a friend tells you how sick he is of internet slang.

There aren’t any weird grammar rules, alternate meanings, or freaky memes to worry about with IKR. Like any initialism, in text, people frequently drop the capitalization and any punctuation. You might see “ikr” in online conversations and comments; it means the same thing.

One thing you might want to keep in mind is this phrase is a bit loaded. Again, it doesn’t just mean you agree with someone, but that you’re also relieved that he or she shares the same opinion as you.

If you don’t really agree with what someone’s said, you’ll want to avoid using IKR.

Profile Photo for Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew Heinzman writes for How-To Geek and Review Geek. Like a jack-of-all-trades, he handles the writing and image editing for a mess of tech news articles, daily deals, product reviews, and complicated explainers.
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