A man looks smug while the letters NGL float over his face.

Despite NGL’s popularity on Reddit and Twitter, it hasn’t gained the mainstream use of some other abbreviations. NGL stands for “Not Gonna Lie,” and it’s still common in many corners of the web.

Not Gonna Lie

NGL is an abbreviation for “not gonna lie.” It’s usually used at the beginning of a sentence to indicate honesty or vulnerability. Like TBH, NGL’s tone can change depending on the context. It could be used to insult someone, to share your honest opinion, or to open up your emotions.

In most situations, NGL is simply used to share your opinion. You could say, “NGL, I hate hot dogs,” or “NGL, metal straws are too hard to clean.” But you could also use NGL as a highway for rudeness, flattery, or insult—just as you might use the phrase “not gonna lie” in real life.

The History of NGL

The phrase “not gonna lie,” or “I’m not gonna lie,” originated sometime in the last 100 years. It’s always been used to imply honesty or vulnerability, although it’s often thrown around as an empty colloquialism. In other words, people often say, “not gonna lie” before or after opinions that aren’t actually deep, damning, or vulnerable.

It seems that “not gonna lie” morphed into NGL sometime in 2009 or 2010. That’s when the abbreviation was first added to the Urban Dictionary and around the time the word started picking up steam on Google Trends.

Right now, NGL is at its peak on Google Trends, which means more people are searching for the word online than ever before. NGL seems to be gaining popularity on websites like Reddit and Twitter, probably because of the recent “they had us in the first half, not gonna lie” meme that was started by Apollos Hester.

How Do I Use NGL?

A man wonders how to use NGL online

Like TBH, NGL is a direct abbreviation of a popular real-world phrase. If you know how to use “I’m not gonna lie” in real life, then you’re all set to start using NGL. The word doesn’t follow any weird grammatical rules, so you can just jump into it with your real-world experience.

If you wanted to tell a friend you don’t like ketchup, you could say, “Ketchup is nasty, NGL.” Or, if you wanted to insult them for liking ketchup, you could say, “NGL, ketchup is for babies.”

NGL, we love internet slang that’s based on real-world phrases. Other popular examples include TBH and FWIW, and they can absolutely supercharge your internet vocabulary.

RELATED: What Does "TBH" Mean, and How Do You Use It?

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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