Back with another short-speak / slang question!

What does ㄹㅇ stand for? I receive it in text messages (usually in form of a question) and I've been trying to figure out what it could possibly stand for...

  • 1
    Check this one to learn some slangs.
    – Klmo
    Jul 15, 2019 at 4:34
  • Thank you!! I'll check that one out
    – SQLBunny
    Jul 15, 2019 at 4:58

2 Answers 2


I just learned this one recently!

ㄹㅇ stands for 레알? Which reads as 'Real?' It's a shortened version of asking 'Really?' or the more American version 'Are you for real?'

I believe a popular singer who is Korean-American started using it on a music program and it started catching on. Now it's used pretty widely both spoken and written!


A: I just saw BTS on the street!!

B: Real?!


ㄹㅇ means either "real" as an adjective or "really" as an adverb. It can be read either "레알" or "리얼".

When used like "ㄹㅇ?", what @AliensinAction says is quite right. It is a question "Really?" or "Is it/this/that for real?". When used as part of a larger speech, some other examples (from random web search) are:

'ㄹㅇ 친환경' 수소전기차
A "real eco-friendly" hydrogen vehicle

ㄹㅇ짜증나는 '학교규칙'
A really annoying school rule

ㄹㅇ 솔직후기
A really honest review

It started as an Internet slang, originated around late 2008 to early 2009 in 디씨인사이드 해외축구갤러리(DCInside International Football Gallery), where users started saying "레알" when they meant "리얼". It comes from the Spanish word real (meaning royal), which coincidentally spells the exact same as the English word real. The Spanish real is part of names of many football teams (most notably Real Madrid C.F.) in the Spanish-speaking world, and was thus familiar to the football fans.

The emergence of the initialism "ㄹㅇ" followed quite immediately, and just like many other Internet slangs, it established its usage in everyday casual written and spoken language of the younger generation.

  • This deserves more upvotes because ㄹㅇ itself does not have a question mark and also because this answer explains the origin.
    – Klmo
    Aug 8, 2019 at 10:36

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