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ILY

or ily

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abbreviation

I love you.

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Origin of ILY

From its use in digital communications
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

BEHIND THE WORD

What does ILY mean?

ILY stands for I love you. It is used in digital communication (online) as an earnest or playful declaration of affection.

ILY is also associated with an American Sign Language sign for I love you.

How is ILY pronounced?

[ ahy-el-wahy ]

What are other forms of ILY?

ily

What are some other words related to ILY?

Where does ILY come from?

The phrase I love you, in one form or another, is as old as the English language itself. ILY, the acronym, on the other hand, is a bit more recent.

In American Sign Language, the ILY hand sign for I love you combines the signs for letters I, L, and Y in American Sign Language. It is represented in emoji form as the I love you hand sign: 🤟.

Signing Savvy

ILY is also common in textspeak, or the abbreviations, acronyms, and slang used on cell phones and the internet. ILY appeared online by the 1990s.

How is ILY used in real life?

ILY in American Sign Language can express a range of positive feelings—love chief among them, of course.

Jimmy Carter memorably used the ILY sign during his Inauguration Day parade in 1977. The Marvel superhero, Doctor Strange, uses the gesture to cast spells. 

Sometimes the ILY sign is confused with the sign of the horns gesture (🤘), as associated with rock music.

Online and in text messages, people use ILY as a shorthand way to express a variety of affectionate and loving emotions.

How to use ILY in a sentence

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