If you’ve seen the initialism “IIRC” being used online and in text messages and IM chats and are wondering what it means, here’s a quick definition plus tips of how to use it correctly…
I’ve never been one for abbreviations or initialisms. I spend all day writing, so I have no problem writing things out in full. But ever since the mobile phone arrived on the scene, people have been shortening words and making initialisms out of phrases.
The idea? To make texting easier and quicker. After all, it is quicker to write LOL than a thought out response detailing your exact emotions at the time. Ditto for things like NSFW, SMH, and other internet slang/abbreviations.
What Does “IIRC” Mean?
Like any good internet-based initialism, IIRC has a couple of meanings. It can either stand for IF I RECALL CORRECTLY or IF I REMEMBER CORRECTLY – it works for either and its usage depends on the context of the sentence.
For instance, if you’re in an argument or debate with someone on Reddit, and you know you’re right and they’re wrong, you could simply state: IIRC, the iPhone 11 does not have 5G.
You don’t have to use IIRC in this context, of course. You’re right. You know you are. But the use of IIRC gives the statement a more polite, approachable tone. You don’t always need to be a d**k online, you see.
You can also use IIRC if you’re unsure about something.
For instance, say you’re talking about a specific event or date, but you’re not 100% sure you have the date or timing correct. You could say, “IIRC, it happened on [insert date] but I could be wrong…”
Passive Aggressive People Love IIRC…
One of the most popular uses of IIRC is by people that love being passive-aggressive, either online or in personal texts. I know this from first-hand experience.
For instance, you might have a spouse or a roommate that constantly lets you know that it is your turn to clean the fridge or do the dishes.
They might say, “IIRC, I did the dishes last night. That means it is your turn this evening.”
Or, “IIRC, I took the bins out last week; can you make sure you do it this time.”
This can be annoying to the recipient because they KNOW that the other person KNOWS that they’re right. And that there’s no need for recalling or remembering – they never forget ANYTHING related to chores and the division of labor.
Where Did IIRC Come From?
The abbreviation IIRC started life on the web, way back in the late 1990s inside forums and platforms like IRC, where it was used as a quick way to write IF I RECALL / REMEMBER CORRECTLY.
Since then, IIRC has remained in constant circulation on sites like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and Discord.
IIRC isn’t the most common abbreviation online, however. In fact, it sits pretty low down on Reddit’s 19 most used abbreviations and initialisms. But it is a useful one to know, as it is common in many forums, Slack channels, and subreddits.
How To Use IIRC In A Sentence
Grammatically, IIRC works exactly the same as the phrase If I Recall / Remember Correctly, so you use it just as you would in a normal sentence. If you’re online, however, you can bend the rules slightly.
For instance, you could use the following: IIRC – This [insert date] is when the party is scheduled for?
Or, you could drop truth bombs on idiots on Facebook: IIRC, you’re not a qualified doctor or even a college graduate. Please explain why anyone should listen to you about vaccines?
You can use IIRC in any sentence or context. It can be used to come across as polite, snarky, passive-aggressive, or genuinely confused/unsure about something.
If you start adding it to family WhatsApp group chats, you’ll end up having to explain what it means and that would take A LOT longer than simply writing out If I Recall Correctly.
Or you could just share this article with them. Either way, you now know what IIRC means, so go forth and use it liberally!
Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.