What Does ILY Mean?

This acronym will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside

An image graphic of a text message saying
A text message saying "ILY" on a smartphone.

Did someone just text "ILY" to you? Or did you see it posted somewhere on social media? The meaning of this acronym is friendlier than you might think!

ILY stands for: I Love You

D'aww! That's one mushy acronym.

How ILY Is Used

ILY is used online or in text messages the same way it's used in face-to-face conversations. People typically use it to:

  • Express their genuine love and affection for their partners, relatives, and close friends;
  • Emphasize their admiration for someone who just did or said something really funny or adorable;
  • Be compassionate and offer support to others they care about during difficult times;
  • End a conversation on a loving and caring note before each person goes their own separate way.

Even though the above situations are among the most common for using this acronym, there really are no rules for using it. If you love or care for someone and want them to know, you can use it anytime you want.

Examples of ILY in Use

Example 1

Friend #1: "ILY"

Friend #2: "Aww ILY too!"

Here's the most basic example of how ILY can be used. Friend #1 uses it as a standalone phrase and Friend #2 expresses the same feelings by saying it back.

Example 2

Friend #1: "I just stepped on a piece of LEGO and screamed so loud that my cat jumped 5 feet in the air."

Friend #2: "LOL ILY"

In this second example, Friend #2 reacts to Friend #1's funny experience by pairing ILY with LOL (Laugh Out Loud) to express their amusement and admiration.

Example 3

Friend #1: "Wish I could just be over it already. It's hard."

Friend #2: "I'm here if you need me. ILY"

This third example shows how ILY might be used to help express compassion. Friend #2 reminds Friend #1 they can count on them for emotional support and uses ILY to emphasize it.

Example 4

Friend #1: "We'll figure it all out tomorrow when we meet up. I'm turning in for the night."

Friend #2: "OK see you tomorrow. ILY."

Friend #1: "Night ILY"

This final example shows how ILY might be used to help close out a conversation. Just like you might say "I love you" to a loved one before you hang up on a phone conversation, Friend #2 uses ILY to say goodbye and goodnight.

An Alternative to ILY

There's one other well-known way to say "I love you" in the digital world. Instead of ILY, you can use ILU. In this alternative acronym, the letter Y is swapped out for the letter U.

The Opposite of ILY

The opposite of ILY is IHU, which stands for "I Hate You." People tend to use this acronym sarcastically more often for a humorous effect as opposed to using it literally.

Saying ILY Back

If someone texts or messages ILY to you and you feel the same, you can use a variation of this acronym to say it back. All you have to do is add the number 2 to the acronym.

ILY2 translates to "I Love You Too." You could also use the alternative ILU acronym with the number 2 to say ILU2.