An Explainer On IJBOL, LOL’s Gen Z-Approved Variant


LOL, LMAO, IJBOL, so many ways to say the same thing.

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Ever since the internet was invented and we gifted ourselves the ability to communicate with each other online, our vocabulary has shifted to meet the parameters of internet, digital, and social media discourse. Such is the case when it comes to acronyms that always convey how we feel at a specific moment. When we come across something funny, LOL has often been the go-to term for many as their way to express their reaction to said funny moment. But as fast as social media slang is developing and bringing to the forefront new terms and acronyms, a new way to express laughter has been popping up. Move over LOL, we’re using IJBOL.


For starters, no, IJBOL is not a Korean word, though we wouldn’t fault you for thinking it was at first glance. IJBOL, which, according to the New York Times is pronounced eej-bowl, is an acronym that stands for I Just Burst Out Laughing. According to Urban Dictionary, the term has been around since the late 2000s. But it recently saw a resurgence in 2021 thanks to K-pop Twitter as stans took it to new heights with their frequent usage of the term. 

If you’ve scrolled across social media, especially on TikTok, as of late, you’ve probably been seeing people use IJBOL as Gen Z dump overused acronyms such as LOL and LMAO for the hottest laugh-related acronym to enter the modern lexicon. The girls who get it, get it, and the girls who don’t don’t. 


So, how can you use IJBOL? While it can be deployed whenever you encounter something funny, IJBOL hits hardest when used as a way to express sudden bursts of laughter, letting out an unexpected snort, unprompted chuckling, or even laughing during inappropriate settings. In the same way as LOL (laughing out loud), LMAO (laughing my ass off), and ROFL (rolling on the floor), IJBOL expresses laughter that entails a physical reaction and is almost projectile.

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Less mainstream than LOL but potentially more appropriate than haha, IJBOL is the new meaning for laughing for the new generation, and another example of how Gen Z find new ways to express common feelings without using acronyms that have seemingly lost their meaning (LOL, we’re looking at you).

While some may wonder why IJBOL has to be so complicated, there’s an inherent humor to it the fact that it’s a funny thing to say. Can you imagine oomf IRL saying IJBOL in front of you and then proceeding to act as if they’re in the IDGAF wars? Yeah, we’ll give you some time to decode that. Anyways, Gen Z humor strikes again with the further expansion of the human vocabulary.  

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