sorry not sorry
[ sawr-ee not sawr-ee ]
What does sorry not sorry mean?
Sorry not sorry is a sarcastic way of acknowledging that someone might not like whatever you’re saying or doing … but you don’t really care.
Where does sorry not sorry come from?
Sorry not sorry is a new take on a time-honored tradition: the insincere or ironic apology—as if to say Sorry, but I’m not really sorry or Sorry, scratch that, I’m not sorry.
One early instance of the expression comes in 2001 when an internet user shadily changed the name of a thread from “Sorry for stephen” to “Sorry, not-sorry for stephen.” (Sorry, Stephen.)
The phrase began spreading in the 2000s. The American rock band Amen released the song “Sorry, Not Sorry” in 2004, featuring the lyrics “Sorry, I’m not sorry.” In 2007, columnist James Pinkerton criticized former CIA Director Tenet as “Sorry/Not Sorry” following a big book deal.
Social media gave sorry not sorry legs in the 2010s. The phrase made its Twitter debut in December, 2010:
I may or may not have thrown a snowball inside of Kams and hit someone. Followed by 5 people that did the same. Sorry not sorry. #LetItSnow
— Cass (@CassLynee) December 4, 2010
It took off in the Twitterverse the following year, sometimes perceived as a “bitchy” thing young adult women say.
In 2017, pop artist Demi Lovato rebranded the phrase with her award-winning song “Sorry Not Sorry,” championing self-empowerment—never apologizing for who you are.
Examples of sorry not sorry
Who uses sorry not sorry?
More in line with its mid-2010s reputation, sorry not sorry can be sassy, rude, or proud.
Thanks in part to Demi Lovato in the late 2010s, sorry not sorry can also signify self-empowerment or taking ownership—you do you.
On social media, people often use sorry not sorry to tag an unpopular or controversial opinion.
Feeling sad about Toys R Us closing is nothing more than linking capitalism with nostalgia.
Sorry not sorry. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
— Bree Schmidt (@B_Schmidt) March 21, 2018
This is not meant to be a formal definition of sorry not sorry like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of sorry not sorry that will help our users expand their word mastery.