The Meaning of IFY: What It Is and How To Use It

This guide will give you all the information you require on the term IFY, including its meaning, synonyms, sentence examples, and more!

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What does IFY mean?

The term IFY has two different meanings. The first is an internet slang acronym, according to Dictionary. This piece of slang stands for “I feel you,” according to Urban Dictionary, or occasionally, “I forgive you.” Most commonly, one would say “I feel you” as slang for “I understand,” or “I get it.” If someone is venting or complaining about work our school, a friend might say “IFY” via text to imply that they sympathize or empathize with them.

“Ify” is also a common suffix with multiple meanings. According to Longman Unabridged English Dictionary, the term has four different meanings. First, the suffix can be used to alter something and change it into a specific state or condition. For example, “to clarify” something means “to make it clear.” “To humidify” means “to make something more humid.” “To beautify” is “to make something beautiful.”

Second, it can be used to form a verb that fills someone or something with a specific feeling. For example “to terrify” means “to fill with terror.” This, it can mean to change something to make it fit into or be more typical of a group. For example, “to Frenchify” means “to make something more like the French.”

Finally, the suffix can be used informally to create words that are not always grammatically correct, typically when these are being done in an annoying or silly way. For example, if someone is to “speechify” something, they may be talking in a way that sounds like a self-important speech, even if they are just talking about what they had for lunch.

Where did the term IFY come from?

The slang term IFY meaning “I feel you,” is a piece of chat or text speak. This abbreviation stems from texting and instant messaging as a way to condense one’s speech into a shorthand that is faster to type. One would not use this abbreviation aloud as an initialism, because it would not save them any time in speech. IFY and “I feel you” have the same number of syllables, and it may take more time to explain the acronym one has used than to say the actual phrase! 

Regarding the suffix -ify, Longman English Dictionary states that this stems from the Old French suffix “-ifier.” This comes from the Latin “-ificare,” “-ficare,” and “-fy.” These suffixes create related words, like “liquefy” meaning “to turn into a liquid.” Here, the suffix “-fy” is used instead of “-ify,” but the same meaning is retained.

Etymologeek states that the Latin “-ficare” comes from the other Latin suffix “-ficus.” “-Ficus” was a Latin suffix that formed adjectives about bringing or making. For example, the word “amplifier” has the same root of “-ficare” and”-ficus.” Therefore, an “amplifier,” “amplifies,” or “increases the amplitude of” something. In short, an “amplifier” makes things louder.

The Free Dictionary states that “-ficare” may derive from the Latin verb “facere,”
meaning “to make,” “to do,” “to accomplish,” or “to become.” The Latin Dictionary states that the main forms of the verb include facio, facerem feci, and factus. For example, the word “factor,” which according to Merriam-Webster is a thing that  contributes to a certain result, stems from the Latin word facere.

What are synonyms for the term IFY?

Collins Dictionary and Thesaurus both state numerous synonyms for the phrase “I feel you.” Some of these are more formal than the casual phrase IFY, and could be more appropriate for more professional circumstances like work emails, letters, or other settings in which a casual vernacular is not appropriate.

  • To feel compassion for
  • To sympathize with
  • To empathize with
  • To commiserate with
  • To bleed for
  • To feel sympathy for
  • To condole with
  • To take pity on
  • To feel sorry for
  • To be moved by
  • To be sorry for
  • To understand
  • To relate to
  • To suffer with
  • To put oneself in the shoes of another
  • To put oneself in another’s place
  • To comprehend
  • To identify with
  • To commune with
  • To feel at one with

How can IFY be used in a sentence or attached to a word?

IFY can be used when texting with friends to commiserate with them. In this example, Jesus texts his best friend Joseph after work.

Jesus: Hey dude, what up? How was work?

Joseph: Awful. I know the customer is always supposed to be right, but I never imagined that I would have to explain to someone that mozzarella sticks are not dairy-free. It’s so frustrating, dude.

Jesus: Ugh, IFY. I have been there. Now your shift is over and you can relax though!

Joseph: Yeah, until tomorrow.

Here, Jesus uses the acronym IFY to show Joseph that he understands how frustrating his job can be, and that he sympathizes with him. In the next example, Jenny sends Aisling a text when she is home sick from school.

Jenny: Anything exciting happen today?

Aisling: Nah, same boring stuff as usual. How are you feeling?

Jenny: Terrible, my head is all stuffed up like a balloon and my cough sounds disgusting.

Aisling: Oh no! IFY though, whenever I get a cold my body does the same thing. Get lots of rest and let me know if you need anything.

Here as well, Aisling uses the term IFY to empathize with Jenny, because she knows what it feels like to have a stuffy nose and cough.

Overall, the acronym IFY stands for “I feel you.” This is a casual piece of internet slang that is used to tell someone the speaker can relate to, or sympathize with them. -Ify is also a Latin suffix that is attached to the end of a word. This suffix can be used to alter, fill, or change something.

Sources:

  1. https://www.dictionary.com/e/acronyms/ify/#:~:text=IFY%20is%20an%20acronym%20for,used%20for%20I%20forgive%20you.
  2. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=IFY
  3. https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/ify
  4. https://etymologeek.com/lat/-ficare
  5. https://www.thefreedictionary.com/-ify#:~:text=a%20verbal%20suffix%20occurring%20in,Compare%20%2Dify.
  6. http://latindictionary.wikidot.com/verb:facere
  7. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/factor
  8. https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english-thesaurus/feel-for-someone