What Does “IG” Stand For? Its Dual-Meaning 100% Explained

By Richard Goodwin •  Updated: 02/23/22 •  3 min read

You might have seen this term being used online. But what does IG mean and how do you use it correctly? Let’s find out…


In a world chock-full of internet-born slang words and abbreviations, things can get confusing quickly. There are just so many slang words and acronyms around these days. You have common ones like IIRC, SMH, and XOXO, of course, but there are always new ones popping up all the time.

For instance, a relatively new abbreviation – or slang term, if you prefer – is IG. You might see IG online inside forums, in text messages from friends and family, and inside tweets and posts on Instagram. But what does IG actually mean? And, more importantly, how do you use it correctly?

What Does IG Mean?

The term IG has a dual meaning, or, at least, it has taken on a dual meaning in recent times. IG can either mean “I guess” or, more recently, “Instagram” – the meaning will be dependent on the context it is used in. If you’re aware of the context, you will be able to figure out whether the person means I GUESS or INSTAGRAM.

What Does “IG” Stand For It’s Dual-Meaning Explained
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If someone asks you to follow them on IG or send them a DM on IG, it will obviously be referring to Instagram. But if someone adds it to a statement or a text message, where they’re outlining a statement or a point, it will mean “I guess”. As with most things, context dictates meaning when you encounter IG.

When Was IG First Used?

The term IG first became popular during the late-1990s and early 2000s, as mobile phones began to become popular. Text messages quickly became the de facto communication tool for millions of people and gave birth to myriad slang terms and abbreviations. Of which one of the most popular was IG.

Inside text messages, IG can be used to express reluctance – like if you’re going to a party that you don’t really want to go to – or skepticism, whereby someone could send you a message explaining something – why vegan BBQs aren’t depressing, for instance – and you could respond with IG. In this context, IG connotes skepticism and will be perceived as a rather tepid response.

The Instagram Connection

During the late-2010s, Instagram grew massively earning itself a place alongside its owner, Facebook, as one of the biggest social media platforms on the market. It was around this time – circa 2015-onwards – that Instagram users began referring to the platform as IG, a shortened, abbreviation of its brand name.

Since then, IG – when used to refer to Instagram – has become massively popular with both internet users, Instagram users, even Instagram itself, and of course users on Twitter, where you’re limited to a certain amount of characters for tweets.

In the latter environment, where space is a commodity, shortened versions of words like IG, IIRC, and SMH are a great tool for getting your meaning across with a fewer amount of words and letters.

Other Popular Internet Slang Terms & Abbreviations Explained

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What Does “IG” Stand For It’s Dual-Meaning Explained
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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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