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About How-To Geek
DimaBerlin/Shutterstock.comOne fantastic thing about the mạng internet community is how rapidly it pushes the boundaries of language. Twitter-born words, phrases, và #hashtags emerge constantly in response khổng lồ news và social media. IDK is one of the more popular online abbreviations used in informal communication và memes.

“I Don’t Know”

IDK is an abbreviation of the phrase “I don’t know,” & it be can spelled capitalized or uncapitalized. According to Grammarly, the abbreviation has been around since sometime around 2002 (or even earlier), when it appeared in text speak. On Urban Dictionary, the phrase is defined as the shorthand khung for “I don’t know” in a comment posted in 2003.

The abbreviation is most commonly used & understood by younger generations (think generations Y and Z), but don’t bet that someone who isn’t as tech- or text-savvy will understand what the phrase means.

According khổng lồ Google Trends, IDK is most often used in the United States, Poland, and Moldova. The usage of the term really began lớn skyrocket on the website in 2007. The abbreviation’s popularity rose again with another significant hike during the current global pandemic with a focus in memes, possibly reflecting people’s confusion và uncertainty over the state of society during the lock-down period.

RELATED: What Is a Meme (and How Did They Originate)?

How lớn Use IDK

IDK should be used as shorthand for “I don’t know” in text và instant messaging to express uncertainty when trying lớn come up with an answer to lớn a question, or when trying to lớn describe something unknown.


Here are a few proper ways to lớn use IDK in text:

IDK what that means.IDK about that.I should pick up bread, but idk if the store is open now.

If you’re feeling extra confident, saying IDK aloud to a group of friends will invite a lot of laughs và self-inflicted embarrassment (just don’t do it in public unless you have no shame.)

It’s meaning và semantics have remained the same, but a few variations have appeared over time.

“IDEK” & Other Variations


There are a few variations of IDK that are common in messaging platforms. All of these variations can be spelled capitalized or uncapitalized. IDK can be used to lớn respond quickly khổng lồ messages, but online slang should be avoided in many professional settings.

A common variation is “IDEK” or “I don’t even know.” For example, “IDEK who that is.”

You can use the “IDW,” or “I don’t want,” shorthand to lớn show you don’t want something or when you don’t want to vì something. For example, “IDW to go lớn the park.”


Use “IDTS,” or “I don’t think so,” to express subtle doubt & uncertainty. For example, if you’re not sure whether or not the keys are in the house, respond with “IDTS.”

“IDC,” or “I don’t care,” should not be confused with IDK, however, you can use them in the same sentence.

For example:

Person 1: “Who was that?”Person 2: “idk & idc”

The opposite of IDK is IK (I know), which is another popular online abbreviation that is used most commonly in text messaging. Alternatively, you can use “IKR” which translates to lớn “I know, right?” & is usually applied in ironic contexts.

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There’s a ton of online slang that IDEK, & if you’re curious about other mạng internet abbreviations và acronyms, check out our pieces on GG and IRL.

Joshalynne FinchJoshalynne is a freelance writer & lifelong learner who always loves studying new things. She enjoys checking out the latest grammar books và writing about clip games more than anything else. Read Full Bio »