Real-time suggestions, wherever you write.

Get GrammarlyIt's Free

Real-time suggestions, wherever you write.

Get GrammarlyIt's Free

What Does Irl Mean?

Updated on
May 22, 2019
What Does Irl Mean?
  • Irl is an abbreviation for the phrase in real life.
  • Use irl when you want to distinguish reality from something that happens in games, on social media, or on TV.

There’s certainly something attractive about playing video games or carefully crafting a social media presence. However, we shouldn’t lose track of things that happen to us irl because of that.

The Meaning of Irl

Irl stands for in real life, which indicates that we’re talking about our normal, everyday life and not the digital lives we lead online.

Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing always looks great? Grammarly can save you from misspellings, grammatical and punctuation mistakes, and other writing issues on all your favorite websites.

The phrase irl emerged in the early days of the Internet when people saw a need to distinguish things that were happening online from things that were happening offline. As people found ways to present an alternate picture of themselves online, irl became a shorthand for distinguishing between how things appear online and how they are in reality.

What Does Irl Mean? image

How to Use Irl

Irl is an online slang word, and as such, it doesn’t belong in formal conversations. If you are in a formal conversation, consider replacing it with the phrase “in reality.”

When you use irl, you have the choice to either put it in all caps or not—either way will work fine. Just remember that it’s meant to point out that something isn’t happening in the environment where it’s being said, or that it’s not the way it seems online or on TV.


I’m thinking about buying a sword irl.

Those Instagram pictures have been retouched; he has considerably less hair irl.

I met Javier Bardem at the airport; he’s very nice irl.

Your writing, at its best.
Get Grammarly for free
Works on all your favorite websites
Related Articles
Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox.
You have been successfully subscribed to the Grammarly blog.

Write with confidence.

Get real-time suggestions wherever you write.
Get GrammarlyIt's Free
“Grammarly quickly and easily makes your writing better.”
— Forbes