Tumblr Terms: URL to IRL

Article by: Julianna Ching

Have you ever heard of the acronym “OTP” used in a sentence?  What about someone “shipping” two people?  Do the phrases “what even” and “all the feels,” sound familiar?  Have you ever wondered, what does that even mean?

These terms are all derived from a popular blogging website called Tumblr.  Created in February, 2007, Tumblr boasts 30 to 50 million active users, 90 million different blogs, and 300 million unique visitors.  With so many users, Tumblr was bound to work its way into our daily lives.


And it did.  80% of ISM Tumblr users who participated in a survey admitted to using Tumblr expressions in real life.  These include “ship names” such as “Galeniss” (a combination of the names Gale Hawthorne and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy) and “Johnlock” (John Watson and Sherlock Holmes from BBC’s Sherlock TV series).  But why use these terms in real life, as not everyone actually has a Tumblr blog?

Many students claim that Tumblr terms better express their feelings than any word in the dictionary.  Furthermore, Tumblr is so prominent in their daily lives that these phrases have become normal to them – most users don’t even think twice before using Tumblr vocabulary.

“It’s useful,” says one ISM student.  “When you’re talking with friends that understand what you’re talking about, it almost seems like a secret.”

Another student remarks that

The language really sticks. It’s so funny and relevant that it’s hard to keep out of everyday life… You have no idea how many times I’ve wanted to end an essay with ‘You feel me?

Tumblr’s growing popularity, not only on the Internet, but also in real life, has proven a mighty inspiration for today’s youth.  In fact, there are several guides to Tumblr slang to be found online — if you didn’t recognize any of the terms mentioned in this article, it might be a good idea to check out a few of them, just to stay in the loop.


URL – Uniform Resource Locator (Domain of a website)

IRL – In Real Life

OTP – One True Pairing

What even – And exclamation similar to “oh my goodness”

All the feels – Reference to a relatable, enjoyable experience

Ship names – Titles that combine the two names of a couple of a relationship

You feel me? – ‘Do you understand what I am saying’

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