‘IG’ doesn’t just stand for ‘Instagram’ anymore — here’s what it means

If you’ve seen the acronym “IG” in the past decade, it probably stood for Instagram. As people’s social media habits change, IG doesn’t always refer to the photo-sharing app anymore. Its new meaning is actually kind of its old meaning. 

The origins of “IG”

In the 1990s and 2000s the term “IG” referred to the phrase “I guess.” This connotation implies a certain passive-aggressiveness, reluctance or skepticism. For example, if a parent asks a teen if they had a good day at school, the teen might reply, “I guess” to convey their apathy. 

Before “I guess” was used by the eye-rolling masses, it first entered the popular lexicon in the late 1600s as a way of expressing “moderate or ironic certainty,” according to Dictonary.com. For example, “I guess I’ll have to go to the store if no one else volunteers.” 

Then in 2012, Facebook purchased Instagram, a social photo-sharing app. Once the app became popular it appeared “IG” referred exclusively to Instagram when used on the internet. 

But it appears the old “IG” is back again 

On July 6, TikTok experienced an outage that made the video-sharing app difficult to use or caused glitches. 

Popular user Addison Rae expressed her dismay at the situation. 

“Time to get a job ig,” Rae tweeted. The translation: “Time to get a job, I guess.” The influencer shared a screenshot of her account showing a glitch that caused her to lose her entire following of 81 million. Luckily, once the TikTok outage was over, Rae’s account was restored. 

Some alternate, lesser-known definitions of “IG” 

While it’s less common to be used this way “IG” can also mean “ignore,” “ignorant” or “in-game.” 

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