DECIPERING internet slang can sometimes be harder than it seems, with more and more words appearing constantly.
Just as you get the hang of one term, a new one is invented but this one is more old school than you might think – ISTG.
What does 'ISTG' mean?
The term ISTG pops up all the time on TikTok and other social media platforms.
It is simply an abbreviation for "I swear to god".
It is used to express that you are being serious with whatever you are saying or to put emphasis on it.
You might use it to assure your followers that the wild story you are telling is true or to show that you are being serious.
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Alternatively, you might say istg to show exasperation or frustration at something someone is telling you.
Essentially, ISTG is a shortcut way of saying "I promise" or "cross my heart".
ISTG can be stylised in upper or lowercase and used in almost any scenario.
Sometimes istg is even shortened to S2G which means "swear to god".
The hashtag istg on TikTok has over 150 million views with a further 225 million views on related videos.
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Where did 'ISTG' originate from?
Istg comes from the 1990s and early 2000s when text talk and abbreviations were popularised.
SMS language was designed to use as few characters as possible due to phone companies limiting how many words you could include and charging per text.
"I swear to god" itself is a much older phrase, with a religious background.
It originates from swearing on the bible or on god to prove innocence and honesty.
Swearing on something means you make an oath or promise, especially in a legal setting.
Over time the concept of swearing an oath on god became the colloquial "I swear to god".
When shortened text speak came in to fashion istg was used more commonly.
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While some more strictly religious people dislike the term, there is no consensus on whether or not it is disrespectful.
It comes down to the motive and situation in which istg was used.
For most people it is a commonly used abbreviation to indicate honesty, with the origin long forgotten.
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