What Does ISTG Mean?

This rare acronym is used to make a bold statement

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ISTG is one of those online acronyms that's not only difficult to take a wild guess at, but also very rarely used. Understanding how to interpret it if you do come across it online or in a text, however, can bring new meaning to the message or conversation.

ISTG stands for:

I Swear To God.

The above phrase is often heard in everyday face-to-face language, but typing it out online or in a text message takes more time and effort than just blurting it out in an emotionally charged kind of way. This is why some people opt to use the acronym as a short version to get their point across quickly.

The Meaning of ISTG

The phrase "I swear to God" refers to the tradition of taking an oath to God as a way to show sincerity about one's thoughts, feelings or actions. Today, many people use it to simply emphasize their seriousness or sincerity about their thoughts, feelings or actions regardless of spiritual or religious belief in God.

How ISTG Is Used

ISTG is used in a variety of ways to express emotional sincerity. Some of the most common ways to use ISTG are:

  • To communicate certainty when faced with skepticism. When someone doesn't believe you about something you know to be true, using ISTG might convince them that you're telling the truth.
  • To promise to change an action or behavior. If you or others have reason to believe that you can't or won't change something about yourself, you can use ISTG as a way to promise that you're serious about changing.
  • To make a threat seem more intimidating. If you want someone to stop doing something you don't like, you might be able to do so just by using ISTG to threaten aggressive action.
  • As a general interjection. In conversations where something goes against what a person believes to be good or acceptable, ISTG might be used as an abrupt exclamation similar to JFC or WTF for the purpose of expressing emotion.

Examples of How ISTG Is Used

Example 1

Friend #1: "U sure the essay is due tmrw??? I thought we had til Friday!!!"

Friend #2: "Istg the deadline is tmrw!! Mr. Jones reminded us in class today!!!"

In the above example Friend #1 doesn't believe a fact stated by Friend #2, so Friend #2 uses ISTG to communicate their certainty and seriousness about the fact.

Example 2

Friend #1: "Woke up feeling like I got hit by a truck. ISTG I'm never drinking again..."

Friend #2: "Lol, you said that last time too"

This second example is a classic demonstration of how a person might take an oath as a personal vow to change their actions or behavior. Friend #1 uses ISTG as a promise to quit drinking.

Example 3

Friend #1: "If you don't stop spreading rumors about me istg I'm going to tell ur bf that you cheated on him... TWICE" 

Friend #2: "Fine... I'll stop... but all I said was the truth, so you better take an honest look at yourself and change if you want ppl to stop talking"

In this third example, Friend #1 threatens Friend #2 with a punishable action in response to their unwanted behavior and uses ISTG to emphasize their emotional aggression in hopes of intimidating Friend #1 enough to stop what they're doing.

Example 4

Friend #1: "You mean they're just not accepting anyone else? Nobody even said anything about closing applications!!! This is so unfair"

Friend #2: "I know, it's ridiculous"

Friend #1: "Istg..."

Friend #2: "Yeah, guess we'll have to wait until next year to be considered..."

In this final example, you can see how Friend #1 uses ISTG as an interjection to abruptly express their emotion about a situation that they believe to be unacceptable.

When You Shouldn't Use ISTG

The acronym ISTG is typically not appropriate for use in professional conversations or conversations where you want to remain respectful toward the other person/people. ISTG is fine for extremely casual conversations often with people you know very well, but there are other ways to communicate seriousness and sincerity using kinder and more thoughtful language.