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Do You Know What IDK Means?

Idk is one of those terms that someone who is not too Internet-savvy might need some help interpreting.

  • Idk is an abbreviation of the expression I don’t know.
  • Idk is most frequently used in casual communication, such as text messaging.
  • There aren’t any formal rules about the capitalization of terms like idk.

The Definition of Idk

Idk is an abbreviation of the expression I don’t know.

Idk is part of the recently developed lingo called text speak or SMS speech. This lingo is primarily used in informal and everyday communication, especially while communicating through text or instant messages. The phrase idk has been a part of text speak since 2002 at the latest.

How to Use Idk

You can use idk in the same way you use the expression I don’t know.

In day-to-day writing, especially in text messages, capitalization rules are lax at best, so you can choose how you want to treat idk. The only rule that has cropped up in texting lingo is that writing a word in all caps means either you’re shouting it or you’re otherwise trying to accentuate it or heighten its effect. If you are using idk in a more formal context, you should always be sure you capitalize it—or not—consistently.


Idk when I will arrive.

I should get bread, but idk if the grocery store is open.

Idk what you’re saying.


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By Connie Fisher

Connie Fisher is a freelance writer and editor specializing in business writing and marketing. She holds a bachelor's degree in media and journalism and has contributed to a slew of printed and online media, including Contra Costa Times, Daily American, the The Tri-Town News,, and many more.

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