IYKYK – Meaning, Origin and Usage

The term ‘iykyk’ is a common text-based abbreviation that is actually pretty common on the internet, but there are still many users that don’t know what the term means when they see it in a discussion or as a tag. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The term ‘iykyk’ is a common text-based abbreviation that is used as short for the sentence “if you know you know.”

It is acceptable for the term ‘iykyk’ to be used in the context of a discussion, but the term can also be used as a comment or as a hashtag.

The term is used to say that something will only make contextual sense to someone who understands the rest of what is being said.

Sometimes, the term is used ironically to point something out that is obvious to everyone.

If something (e.g. a trend or joke) is only apparent to some of the people in the discussion, then the term ‘iykyk’ becomes appropriate.

The term is acceptable in upper or lower-case, and both ‘iykyk’ and ‘IYKYK’ would be possible.

The plural is never used, since the term denotes an expression instead of a qualitative noun of any type.

Use of the term ‘iykyk’ can sometimes confuse others who are not familiar with the joke or statement, which is the point of the statement in the first place.

Sometimes the use of the term is meant to be ironic or sarcastic.

Example Usage

“There’s just something about wearing those pants in the wrong era that aren’t okay anymore. Someone should explain it to your parents. #iykyk”

“If you don’t know why you shouldn’t put that song on past twelve o’clock at night, then you aren’t part of the cool crowd anymore. #iykyk”

“There’s just something about corporal punishment that’s so, like, last century and what’s the deal with our parents? #iykyk”

“Don’t wear those pants, I’m telling you why.  Just imagine what people are going to say when they’ve taken pictures and it’s on social media in the morning. #iykyk”


The term ‘iykyk’ is a common text-based abbreviation that has been popular since the beginning of social media websites like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook.

The term has been in popular use as a hashtag, a comment or in conversation to denote that the joke or statement will only be understood by a certain group of people for at least the mid-2010s.

It is likely to have originated with the shorter characters necessary for platforms like Instagram and Twitter, where abbreviations are preferred to write things down.

The term ‘iykyk’ was entered into Urban Dictionary in 2016, though it is likely that the term might have appeared some time well before this.

The term ‘if you know you know’ is likely to have entered the term into popular use thanks to popular culture, and the term is most likely to have been further abbreviated after this thanks to the character limit that is often found on most social media platforms.

Phrases Similar to iykyk

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Phrases Opposite to iykyk

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What is the Correct Saying?

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Ways People May Say iykyk Incorrectly

There are several ways in which the term ‘iykyk’ can be used in the wrong way, or misunderstood by someone else when the term is applied.

The term ‘iykyk’ is meant to serve as a reference that only some people will understand the statement or the joke, and that in itself is the point of the term.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase iykyk

The right way to use the term ‘iykyk’ is to apply it to situations where only some people will understand a joke or reference, which in turn is the whole point of the reference (e.g. that others just don’t “get” the joke or reference in the first place).

The term ‘iykyk’ can be used as a comment, as a hashtag or as part of a status or conversation.

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