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Has someone texted you “srsly?” in response to some pretty huge news, but you’re not sure what it means? Read on to learn the definition of this common internet abbreviation.

Seriously Serious

SRSLY is an abbreviated form of the word “seriously” with all of the vowels removed. It’s often used as a shorter alternative to the term. For example, if someone does something you find rude, you might send them the message, “SRSLY?” However, given the context, it can take on an entirely new meaning.

You can write this abbreviation in a variety of ways. You can write it in the uppercase “SRSLY” or the lowercase “srsly.” If you’re using it as a complete sentence on its own, you could even write it in sentence case, such as “Srsly.”

Another variation is abbreviating the word “serious” as “SRS.” This is slightly less common and is often used with the phrase “R U SRS,” which you can say to clarify whether someone is kidding or not.

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The History of SRSLY

SRSLY is slightly older than other internet slang terms that we’ve covered. It came to prominence in the early 2000s, the age of instant messaging and SMS texting. Most of the people using this term were teenagers, who shortened words to make them easier to type.

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The first definition of SRSLY on Urban Dictionary dates back to 2005 and states that it’s “internet shorthand for seriously.” It eventually became more widely used in the early 2010s, thanks to the rise of social media and chat apps like Twitter and Snapchat. Nowadays, you can find it everywhere on the internet.

“SRSLY?” vs. “SRSLY.”

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Believe it or not, “srsly” can have a few different meanings depending on the context. Here are some of the most common ways to use this abbreviation.

First, you can use it as a simple replacement for the word “seriously.” For example, if you’re trying to say that you’re exhausted, you might say, “I’m srsly tired right now.”

When “SRSLY” is asked as a question, it means someone is in disbelief. You might tell your friend, “I found out yesterday that Adam is getting married.” If your friend finds that shocking because they didn’t even know that Adam was in a relationship, they might say, “SRSLY?” This particular way of using the term has a similar meaning to “R U SRS,” which we will discuss in the next section.

Another use is to clarify to someone that you’re not making a joke. For example, you might say, “I’ve been thinking about moving across the country. Srsly.” That tells the other person that you’re completely serious about your desire to move.

R U SRS

As we said earlier, another variant of this abbreviation is saying “R U SRS,” which you’d say when you’re in disbelief. You could also say “srs” on its own, but it’s much less common on the internet.

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Compared to using just “SRSLY,” saying “R U SRS” is more intense. It’s generally reserved for situations when someone says or does something genuinely shocking. For example, if a friend tells you they were recently in a dramatic medical emergency, like getting bitten by a snake, you’d likely say “R U SRS?” to convey that the news is shocking to you.

How to Use SRSLY

Before you start using “SRSLY” in your texts to save you valuable typing time, don’t forget that this is a very informal acronym. Avoid using it in professional contexts, such as business e-mails or on your company’s communication channels.

Here are a few examples of SRSLY in action:

  • “Did you hear? Anna lost her engagement ring. Srsly.”
  • “Srsly? Why are you telling me this right now?”
  • “I broke my girlfriend’s vase. I am in srsly big trouble.”
  • “R U SRS???”

If you’re curious about other internet slang terms, we have plenty of pieces that you can read! Check out our guides on ICYMI, NGL, and BRB, and you’ll be an expert before you know it.

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

Profile Photo for Vann Vicente Vann Vicente
Vann Vicente has been a technology writer for four years, with a focus on explainers geared towards average consumers. He also works as a digital marketer for a regional e-commerce website. He's invested in internet culture, social media, and how people interact with the web.
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