Ion – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Do you want your friends to know that you don’t like something you have seen or heard? Maybe you disagree with a post online and want to make your opinion known?

If you are a AAVE speaker, the term “ion” is a great term to help get your point across.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.

Meaning

The phrase “ion” means “I don’t”. In the simplest terms, it is just a shorter way to say this longer phrase. While it is easy to say I don’t, the term Ion is a way to express your feelings in a stronger way. This slang term is more so meaning that “I really don’t like that” as opposed to the simple form.

Any context in which you would typically say “I don’t” is where you could also use “ion”. Instead of “I don’t know”, it would be “ion know”. If you see the phrase in all capitals, as “ION”, an acronym that most commonly means “in other news”, which is a way of changing the subject.

This use of the term is not as common as its counterpart meaning “I don’t”. “Ion” also looks like the word ion, as in a molecule with an electric charge that is typically learned about in science classes. Especially when “ion” as “I don’t” was a new phrase and still gaining popularity, many people confused it as meaning the molecule. More information can be found in the video (here).

Example Usage

“Ion know what you mean by that. Can you explain?”

“Ion know who that is. She does not look familiar.”

“Ion have any plans later tonight. Do you want to go out?”

“Ion know the answer to this question. Do you care to help me out?”

“Ion like that drink. I need to get a different one.”

“Ion want to go to that club. Do you want to find a different one?”

Origin

This phrase is often attributed to Black English. “Ion” is commonly seen as the colloquial pronunciation of “I don’t”, as, when you say “I don’t” fast enough, it sounds like “ion”. Use of the term on the Internet began in the early 2000s. It appeared online around the same time as “ION”, which was an acronym meaning “in other news”. This acronym is not used as often as it used to be, but “ion” as “I don’t” has remained popular over the years and can still be seen all over the Internet today.

The phrase is especially popular on Twitter, where people often post tweets that are very similar to how they would talk in person. According to Google Trends, use of the phrase picked up in 2015 and use has remained relatively steady over time. It is also commonly seen in text messages, as one of many phrases that are shortened to save time and effort when typing.

Phrases Similar to Ion

  • No idea.
  • No way.
  • I can’t.
  • Nah

Phrases Opposite to Ion

  • I do.
  • I know/ I have/etc.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • “Ion” means “I don’t”.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say Ion

“Ion” is simply used to mean “I don’t”. Trying to use the phrase to mean anything else would be incorrect, especially if you are trying to say “I do” (“I do know”, “I do have”, etc.). Some ways that “ion” may be used incorrectly are:

  • Ion have the notes from chemistry class. Here they are.
  • Ion know what that book is about. Let me tell you the story.
  • Ion know anything about Miami. I grew up there, I could tell you about it.
  • Ion want to go out tonight. Give me an hour to get ready.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Ion

  • Ion know anything about physics. I have not started the class yet.
  • Ion know who Amanda is. I have never met her before.
  • Ion think I can go out this weekend. I have too much homework.
  • Ion know if I can make it tonight. I have a work meeting.

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