What Does ILY Mean?

This acronym will make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside

Graphic of 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.

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. You might also get a text of a friend or loved one that says "IMY ILY," which adds the acronym for "I miss you."

Another alternative to ILY is 'BISLY' (But I Still Love You).  This acronym is used with playful affection and plays off ILY with the added twist of "no hard feelings", or "we're still friends", or "I don't like what you just said, but I won't hold it against you." BISLY is commonly used between people who are familiar with each other and often used during online or text arguments or disagreements.

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.