Sometimes there’s a saying or phrase that’s so popular that you barely go a day of your life without hearing it. However, when it gets turned into an abbreviation or acronym for texting or social media, it might not be immediately apparent to you that it means the same thing.
An example of this is the abbreviation ISTG. Although not everyone recognizes it at first glance, it is actually an abbreviation for a very common phrase that we’ve all heard many times – I Swear To God.
I Swear To God (ISTG) Origin
So where does that phrase come from and what does it mean? Read on to find out.
The phrase “I swear to God” has been used for centuries, and during that time, it has had a few different meanings and uses. It started out as a religious oath to the Christian god that meant you would keep a promise.
In the old days, people would swear an oath as a way of guaranteeing that they would do what they said or what was expected of them, and because almost everybody living in the same area shared the same religion, they swore their oaths on the belief in their deity.
The reason this was seen as a guarantee of the expected behavior was because people believed that their god was all-seeing and all-knowing, and that he knew whether the person making the oath really intended to keep it or not.
They believed that he would punish them if they didn’t keep the promises they made in his name.
Over time, the expression came to mean different things to different people. The religious still used it to swear oaths, and in many cases, they still do today. It is common, nowadays, for people to still swear oaths on the Bible, such as when promising to tell the truth in court.
Whether you’ve been in court yourself or you’ve seen it on TV, the following sentence will likely be familiar to you: “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me, God.”
This phrase has been used since as early as the 13th century, though it has changed a bit since then, and means that if you lie, you expect God to punish you for it.
In largely Christian countries like the United States of America, this is still common practice, but in countries with more diverse populations or less religion, both the Bible and the “so help me, God” parts have been removed in favor of more secular oath-swearing.
Interestingly, the phrase has also evolved beyond religion, and has been used for some time as an exclamation of truthfulness, frustration, or anger.
The phrase “I swear to God” has been used for decades as a way to express a number of emotions, and the way in which it is used tells you which emotion it is expressing. Here are some examples:
- Anger: “I swear to God, if this guy breaks one more thing in my house, I’ll kick him out!”
- Truthfulness: “I swear to God, this actually happened!”
- Frustration: “I swear to God, I’m never going to agree to do this again.”
ISTG Uses in Texting and Social Media
Although people always say the full phrase when speaking out loud, like many popular expressions, it has been shortened to an abbreviation in texting and on social media.
ISTG is becoming more and more popular as a way to show the emotions mentioned in the examples above, along with surprise and other forms of exclamation.
You can use the abbreviation in texting or on social media to show that what you’re saying is surprising and unbelievable, but true. Or, you can use it to sound more threatening, to solidify a promise, or as a general exclamation. For example:
- “She just broke up with him right now ISTG!”
- “Your fav website has 50% off everything today ISTG!”
- “ISTG, if you don’t wash the dishes right now…!
- “I will do better, ISTG!”
The abbreviation is most commonly seen on social media platforms that are populated by younger generations, including Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, and X (Twitter).
How to Respond When Someone Uses ISTG in a Text
Depending on the specific meaning of what they are saying, you would usually respond with something like, “That’s crazy!” or “No way!” For example, if your friend tells you her ex called to ask her to get back together, even though he cheated and left her, the conversation could go something like this:
Friend: “You won’t believe it, but Dirk just asked me to get back together ISTG!”
You: “What!? That’s crazy! WTF is he thinking?”
The obvious response to this abbreviation in just about any situation would be to believe what the person is saying, and that they are serious. That is the main reason why anyone uses the abbreviation at all. You can show belief, sympathy, contrition, or surprise, depending on the context.
ISTG Alternatives and Similar Phrases
There are a few ways that people write this abbreviation, with the most common one being ISTG. However, it can also be written as IS2G or just S2G. There are also some abbreviations that can be used to get a similar point across. For example:
- OMG – Oh, My God
- OMFG – Oh, My F***ing God
- WTF – What The F***
- WTAF – What The Actual F***
- FR – For Real
When Should You Not Use ISTG?
abbreviations like ISTG are useful for shortening casual texts between friends or simple social media posts, but should not be used in professional circumstances or when speaking to people who are unlikely to understand. In other words, don’t use it when texting your boss or your grandmother.
You should also be careful when using ISTG, OMG, or other vaguely religious abbreviations and expressions around religious people. Many Christians believe that this amounts to blasphemy, and might take it as offensive, even if you don’t mean it that way.
The abbreviation ISTG stands for “I swear to God.” Although it was historically used literally, as an oath to a deity that represented a promise in the real world, it has evolved into an exclamation that is used to show anger, frustration, surprise, or truthfulness.
You can use ISTG to let someone know you are serious or to make them believe what you are saying, even if it sounds unlikely. You should respond, when someone uses the abbreviation, by trusting in what they are saying and taking them seriously.
It’s important to not use the abbreviation in professional situations or around people who won’t understand, and you should be cautious about using it around religious people as they may see it as blasphemy.