What Does the Expression 'O Rly' Mean?

Question: What Is 'O Rly'? What Does O Rly Mean?

Answer: "O RLY", ("oh really") is a slang response to express sarcastic doubt, dismay, or incredulity to another online user. You would use this expression when someone else makes a questionable statement or false claim, and you wish to make a snarky response to their obvious mistruth.
Similar expressions to "O RLY" are "NO WAI!" (no way!) and "YA RLY" (yeah, really).
"O RLY" is often spelled all uppercase, but can be also spelled "O Rly" or "o rly". All versions mean the same thing. Just be careful not to type entire sentences in uppercase, as that is considered rude shouting.
While the use of "O RLY" does have a humor element, it is inherently a negative expression, so be careful not to use this expression too often, lest you become known as an online troll (provoker of negative energy). Use this expression sparingly, and only when another online user makes a claim that is blatantly false or untrue, and you can easily prove so.
"O RLY" is often visualized as a Photoshopped image of a snowy owl, an image that has achieved meme notoriety on the Web since 2003.

"O RLY" was coined on the forum Something Awful around 2002-2003. The snowy owl meme image was first seen on 4Chan soon after.
Examples of O RLY usage:

  • (first user:) A giant methane bubble is going to explode under Texas and destroy that entire state in 2015.
  • (second user:) O RLY?
  • (first user:) I'm not kidding, my brother told me about this, and he's studying geology in college.
  • (second user:) NO WAI!
  • (first user:) seriously, it's going to happen, I tell ya
  • (second user:) give your head a shake, something's loose in there.


The O RLY expression, like many cultural curiosities of the Internet, is a part of modern English communication.
Read more Internet abbreviations and shorthand expressions...


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