1. What does IM stand for in messages?

Instant message

An IM is a message sent via a real-time messaging service, such as WhatsApp, Skype, or Facebook Messenger. While people often use IM as a noun (e.g., "Did you see Miguel's IM?"), they may also use it as a verb (e.g., "Can you IM me the party details?" or "I was IMing Shelly the other day").

While computer enthusiasts IM'd before the 1990s, it exploded in popularity in the late-1990s and early-2000s due to now-discontinued services like AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and Windows Live Messenger. IMing has since become an effective and efficient communication method (especially as an alternative to emails in many instances) in almost every facet of life.

For example, you may IM co-workers with Slack, friends with Facebook Messenger, long-distance relatives with WhatsApp, gamers on Twitch, live-streaming viewers with YouTube, and AI customer service bots on a website. IMing has also led to the formation of many slang abbreviations as acronyms for quickening convos.


Can you IM me 2nite after work?

IMing on a phone

Related Slang


Updated April 11, 2023
2. What is an IM used for?

Instant messenger

IM is an abbreviation that refers to an instant messenger, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or the now-defunct AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and Yahoo! Instant Messenger (YIM). People may also use IM to refer to a specific instant message or the act of instant messaging.

Since the 1990s, IMs have become a popular real-time communication method for connecting in various contexts. For example, you may collaborate with co-workers on a project using Teamnote, connect with an international friend using WhatsApp, plan a party with a family member through Facebook Messenger, receive tech support via a website's IM, or interact with other viewers during a live-streaming performance on YouTube.


We chatted via IM for almost four hours yesterday
Whoa! You got a crush on him?
NW! He's in the brotherzone

Time-traveling IM

Related Slang


Updated April 11, 2023

IM definition by

This page explains what the acronym "IM" means. The various definitions, examples, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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