A boy shrugging with the abbreviation IDGI
Anatoliy Karlyuk/Shutterstock

IDGI is a common internet abbreviation that finds its way into Reddit threads and Facebook comments. But what does it mean? How do you use IDGI, and where did it come from?

I Don’t Get It

IDGI is an abbreviation for “I don’t get it.” It’s used to express that you genuinely can’t understand a joke or idea. In most cases, IDGI is used as a prompt for more information—“IDGI, please explain it to me.” Of course, it can also carry a dismissive or facetious tone, just as the phrase “I don’t get it” does in the real world.

And that’s really all there is to it! IDGI is a surprisingly simple piece of internet slang. Even the word’s history, while long, is pretty straightforward.

IDGI Has a Long, Empty History

Some internet slang, like IKR or YEET, have close ties to real-world pop culture. Other terms, such as GLHF, have a storied history in the world of competitive gaming. But IDGI is a bit of an outlier. It’s been around forever, but it doesn’t have much of a history.

IDGI appears on internet slang lists dating all the way back to 1997. We would imagine the abbreviation predates 1997, but it doesn’t appear on any of the late 80s or early 90s abbreviation lists we’ve found through archives like textfiles.com.

A woman typing on an old keyboard.
Emmily/Shutterstock

From what we can tell, IDGI never really made a mark on the world. It’s a popular term that still crops up in group chats and Reddit threads, but people haven’t made any effort to track the term’s history or archive its usage.

Actually, there is one piece of written history for IDGI. In an overwrought Urban Dictionary entry from 2014, a user named Fieldy502 theorizes that IDGI was invented “earlier than 2004” and repopularized in 2012 by students at the University of Central Florida.

But we can’t find anything to back up this oddly specific claim. In fact, data from Google Trends, a tool that tracks keyword searches, shows that searches for IDGI dropped in 2012. If the term spiked in popularity that year, we can assume more people would have checked for its definition on Google.

How Do You Use IDGI?

A man asking himself how to use IDGI
fizkes/Shutterstock

As we mentioned earlier, IDGI is a pretty cut-and-dried abbreviation. You can use it wherever you might say the phrase, “I don’t get it.”

IDGI could stand as a response to a joke or an opinion you don’t understand. If someone were to send you a weird meme, for example, you could respond with a simple “IDGI,” or even “IDGI, what’s the joke?”

As in real life, you can use IDGI to be rude or sarcastic. You might, for example, respond to a dumb joke or opinion with, “IDGI, are you telling a joke?” Just don’t expect to make any friends this way!

While IDGI doesn’t follow any weird grammar rules, it’s worth noting that it (and other informal abbreviations) are often written out in lowercase (idgi). Feel free to use whichever form you’re comfortable with.

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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