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What Does “IDK” Mean? Internet Slang Definition

What does “IDK” mean over text message? When someone says, “IDK,” are they trying to say I Disagree Kindly? What is the intention behind the acronym? The English language is changing dramatically thanks to the internet. It can be confusing to keep up with internet slang and the meanings behind each abbreviation.

Learn what “IDK” means in this short guide…

“IDK” definition and meaning

“IDK” stands for, “I don’t know.” It’s most commonly used in text messaging when a person is asked a question and the response to the question is simply, “I don’t know.”

The acronym “IDK” is a type of initialism often found on the internet and through text messaging.

“IDK” getting used in a text conversation.


Most commonly, the acronym is used in ALL CAPS. It is common in text speak to use ALL CAPS when trying to “shout” something at another person. Although, in this situation, it is not considered a loud shout in text messages.

Correct use: IDK

Correct use: idk

Incorrect use: iDK

Incorrect use: iDk

Intention (synonyms)

It is used in a sentence to display unknown information. Or to lack an answer.

  • Not having an answer.
  • Unknown.
  • Confusion.


It is common for “IDK” to appear in informal communication between two friends. It is less common for the acronym to appear in formal business. This includes business letters and Microsoft Teams or Slack.

Here is where the “IDK” acronym is most commonly used:

Social media: Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Instant messages: Discord, IRC, and other online forums.

Text messages: Group and direct conversations with friends.

“IDK” getting used in a text conversation.

History and origin of “IDK”

Urban Dictionary dates “IDK” back to 2009. Making it a more recent acronym used by younger generations. It is one of the more popular online abbreviations to receive adoption.

Google Trends show the term has gained steadily in popularity since 2013.

Examples of “IDK” getting used in a conversation

Here are examples of where “IDK” is getting used in a text conversation.

Example one

Friend 1: “Do you know where we ended up last night? I lost my phone and can’t figure out where it is.”

Friend 2: “IDK, I don’t really remember anything, to be honest.”

In this example, the friend is starting the sentence with “IDK.” The “IDK” acronym is getting used to save keystrokes when saying the phrase, “I don’t know.” In the above example, the second friend is trying to express to the first friend that they don’t know the answer to their question.

“IDK” getting used in a text conversation.

Example two

Friend 1: “I feel like she might not like me that much, IDK. What do you think?”

Friend 2: “It’s possible. She seems great. Has she been texting you a lot?”

The second example shows the first friend using “IDK” as a way of showing confusion about a scenario. They are feeling like they don’t know whether a person likes them. The “IDK” acronym helps to describe the point of confusion about the situation.

Similar short forms and abbreviations

Here are similar acronyms that could get used in a conversation:

FYI: Or “For Your Information.” This expression is used to inform someone of a counter perspective than the one getting shared. Typically, this phrase gets used to inform a person of new information.

IMHO: Which stands for, “In My Honest Opinion.” One of the phrases that is typically used to share a point of view that differs from the one getting shared.

TBH: Standing for, “To Be Honest.” This is used when a friend wants to be honest with another friend. And uses “TBH” in order to soften the delivery of the potentially aggravating opinion or perspective.


  1. IDK – Wiktionary
  2. IDK – Simple English Wiktionary
  3. IDK | definition in the Cambridge English Dictionary
  4. Idk – Urban Dictionary
  5. IDK definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

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About the author

Dalia Y.: Dalia is an English Major and linguistics expert with an additional degree in Psychology. Dalia has featured articles on Forbes, Inc, Fast Company, Grammarly, and many more. She covers English, ESL, and all things grammar on GrammarBrain.

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