IRL

1. What does IRL stand for?

In real life

IRL is a quick way to refer to things that occur in real life, as opposed to a virtual world online or in a video game system. It's helpful for individuals who get too caught up in worlds alternative to reality, such as trekkies, cosplayers, and larpers.

Where did IRL come from?

The exact origins of the IRL acronym are unclear, but it became popular in the early-2000s as people began to spend more time online in chatrooms, surfing webpages, and in fantasy gaming worlds. It was adopted by online communities as a helpful shortcut to refer to activity in the real world instead of what is happening online.

When do I use IRL?

Any time you are attempting to differentiate between matters happening in the real world and online, IRL is a useful acronym that is widely understood by netizens. This is especially helpful when chatting online, on social media, and when gaming online.

Example

"Online I am a level 85 Night Elf that controls 5 towns, but IRL I am a 7th grader who lives with my parents."
IRL Image

IRL means in real life

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Last Updated: April 7, 2021

2. What is an IRL?

A real-life person

An "irl" is an acquaintance or friend you know in real life, as opposed to the Internet. It is a helpful way to differentiate between friends you only interact with online and those you have in the real world.

Where did irl come from?

The exact origins of irl are unclear, but it comes from the IRL acronym, which stands for "in real life." In 2018, a substantial number of online users began using the IRL acronym as a noun to refer to people they knew in real life instead of netizens and ibfs. This coincided with the increase of people spending time online in chatrooms, online fandom forum, Zoom calls, online gaming sessions, or social sites, such as TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram.

Who uses irl?

Most people that use irl are online tweens, teens, and young adults. However, adults that are slang-savvy and engage in online communities may utilize the term, as well.

When do I use irl?

Irl is a helpful label any time you are attempting to categorize whether you know a person online or in real life. It is especially helpful when chatting online, on social media, and when gaming online.

Example

"Patty is one of my new fav irls, and I'm gonna be so sad when she stops working at the coffee shop."
Tweet comparing irls and online friends

Tweet comparing irls and online friends

Related Slang

Usage

Last Updated: April 7, 2021

IRL definition

This page explains what the acronym "IRL" means. The various definitions, examples, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the Slangit team.

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