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A list of important IRC terms.


Administrator. See Channel Admin and Server Administrator.
Away from keyboard. Often used by people to say they are not behind their computer.
Automatic Kick. People on the AKick list will be automatically kicked and banned by the services upon joining that channel.
Automatic Kill, See G-Line
Alternative name/shortcut for a command. Can be server side or client side. A common example is /ns for the command /msg NickServ.
A popular IRC services package.
AOP [access level 5]
Automatic OP. Gives a user channel operator status upon joining the channel.


Bans will prevent you from joining a specific channel. Milder forms exist which allow you to join the channel, but limit you in other ways.
Blitzed Open Proxy Monitor, a bot that will look for and ban users that use an open proxy.
Robots that perform certain tasks automatically. Common examples are the Services bots.
Bot service. Allows you to assign a specific bot to a channel. Can be accessed with the command /bs
Bouncer (BNC)
A bouncer is a piece of software that connects to the IRC server in the user's stead. The user can then connect to the bouncer with an IRC client. This is mostly used to hide a user's real identity (since only the data of the BNC will be displayed). Another common use is to keep your nick online at all times, as the BNC can remain connected to the network when the user quits.


One "chat room" on the IRC server. Channel names typically start with #, rarely also with & (for channels that exist on 1 server only) and + (for modeless channels).
Channel Admin [channel mode +a]
These people have the same rights as Channel operators, but can also manage the akick list, badword filters, ... Marked by an @ symbol before their nickname (or & in some cases).
Channel Founder [channel mode +q]
The person who created the channel. The founder has the most rights over the channel. Each channel can only have one founder, but anyone with the channel password can use the founder commands. Marked by an @ symbol before their name (or ~ in some cases).
Channel Key [channel mode +k]
Certain channels require you to type a certain keyword before being able to join it (Use the /join #[channel] [key] command). Set with channel mode +k.
Channel Operator [channel mode +o]
Channel operators are the people who manage the channel. They can kick/ban people, change channel modes, voice people and give other people operator rights.
Channel Owner
See Channel Founder
See Channel Operator.
Channel service. A service bot that allows you to register/manage a specific channel. Can be accessed with the command /cs.
Software that connects to the IRC server.
Cloak [user mode +t]
Used to hide someones real host and to replace it by a custom message. Can only be assigned by Services Operators. Sometimes called Virtual Hosts (vHosts).
Commands can invoke different actions. All commands start with /. Examples: /msg, /mode, /nick, ... . Commands are interpreted by the IRC client, or sent to the server if the command is unknown.
Client to Client Protocol. An extended IRC protocol that gives some more options, like the ability to query other clients and to add newlines in messages.


Direct Client-to-Client. Establishes a connection directly with the Client of another IRC user. This can be used for greater security. A DCC will not disconnect if the server does.



Sending a lot of messages or notices to a channel in a short time, usually done to annoy others. Will most likely lead to a ban.
See Channel Founder.


A ghost is a user that has disconnected from the server without the server noticing it. Ghosts will automatically quit IRC after a while due to a ping timeout. A registered nickname can manually be killed by its owner through the /ns ghost command.
Global Operator (GlobOp) [user mode +o]
An IRCop with rights on all servers of the network.
Global kill line. Global ban from the entire IRC network. They can only be set by IRCops.
Global Z-Line, see Z-Line.


Half Operator (halfop) [channel mode +h]
Basically a Channel Operator, but with limited abilities (they can not kick Operators or above for example). Usually marked with the % prefix.
Help Operator (helpop) [user mode +h]
An IRCop who is available to help other users with IRC problems.
Help Service. A bot that gives info about other service bots and IRC commands.
HOP [access level 4]
HalfOP. Will grant you Half Operator status when you join the channel.
Your hostname contains your IP and sometimes additional info like the ISP. Can be hidden using a Cloak. Otherwise it can be seen by anyone through whois.
Host service. This bot allows you to (de)active your vHost. Only Services Operators are able to actually change the vHost from a user. Can be accessed with the command /hs.


Ask someone to join a certain channel. Used through the /invite command. Can only be used by Channel Operators if mode +i is set.
Internet Relay Chat. A protocol used for real-time text chat over the internet.
IRC daemon (IRCd)
The software that runs on the IRC server.
IRC Operator (IRCop)
IRCops are server or network wide operators. They have the ability to ban users from the entire server or network when needed. The exact rights they have are defined in the O-Lines.


Juping a channel or nickname means blocking the channel or nickname from the server/network. It is also possible to Jupe an entire server, preventing that server from connecting to the IRC network.


See Channel Key.
Operators can kick you out of a channel if you misbehave. You will be able to re-join the channel immediately (unless a ban was set).
Force a certain nickname to quit from the IRC server. Registered users can kill their own nickname through NickServ (using /ns ghost). An IRCop can kill any user.
Kill line. A ban from a single IRC server. Can only be set by IRCops. People can still connect to other servers on the network.


Time delay between the moment you send a message and the moment the other party receives it.
Local Operator (LocOp) [user mode +O]
IRC Operator with rights only on the local server. They can kill users connected to their server and k-line people to ban them.


Memo service. A bot that allows you to send small memos to other users, even when they are offline. It can also send memos to a channel, in which case the message will be sent to the channel operators, admins and founder. Can be accessed with the command /ms.
Channels and users can have various modes that have different effects. A channel's modes can only be changed by its Operators.
Modeless Channel
Like the name implies, this is a channel without modes. This means there can be no operators, bans, etc. They are very rare and start with + rather than #. They are not available on most IRC daemons.
Message of the day. A short message that will appear when connecting to the IRC server, or by using /motd.


On occasions, a connection between servers can fail, causing the network to split apart. Users are not disconnected from the server they are on, but they cannot talk with users on other servers (even in the same channel) until the problem is resolved.
Network Administrator (NetAdmin) [user mode +N]
Someone who is responsible for maintaining the entire IRC network. They have the highest rank and will usually act as IRCops as well. Can do virtually anything.
The name that is publicly visible. Can be changed with the /nick command.
Nickname service. A service bot that allows you to register your nickname to prevent others from using it. Can be accessed with the /ns command.
Message sent to a specific user or channel. A notice will either appear in a users active window or the servers status box (depending on your configuration). They should not be used for extended private conversations. Services bots generally reply to your messages through notices.


Operator Line. Determines which people can "Oper up" on the server, granting them IRCop rights. The O-Line defines what rights the IRCop will get after Opering up.
Operator, usually Channel Operator.
Operator, usually IRC Operator.
Operator service. A bot used by IRCops only. This bot basically controls all other service bots. All attempts to use this bot are logged.


In order to make sure that a connected client is still online (and not a ghost), the server regularly sends a ping signal to every client. The client must then respond with a pong signal, else it will be disconnected (ping timeout).
Reply from the client to the ping signal from the server. The IRC Client sends this reply automatically.
Private message
A message to a single person privately. Similar to the PM system on the forums.


Quarantine Line. Global ban from a server based on Nickname (instead of Host). Basically blocks a certain nickname from joining the server. Users already connected may be killed/forced to change nicknames.
See Private message.


A services bot used by root Network Admins. Usually merged into OperServ.


Server Administrator [user mode +A]
The person responsible for maintaining an IRC server and daemon.
Services Administrator [user mode +a]
The Services Administrator has full control over the Service bots on the network. For example, they can use ChanServ to manage any channel without being an channel operator or even joining it.
Services Bot [user mode +B]
Special bots implemented by the IRCd, or an addon package. These bots do not generally join any channels, but instead listen to specific messages. Each bot has its own unique purpose.
Services Operator
Services Operators have extended access to the IRC Service bots. They can for example manage all channels without having access to them.
Shuns can be set to other users by an IRCop. A shun will prevent the user from sending any command to the server, except for the /Admin command.
Server Notice Mask. These are special usermodes that let the user receive server notices. Most Snomasks are available to IRC Operators only.
SOP [access level 10]
Super Operator, see Channel Admin. The access level SOP will automatically make the user a Channel Operator and Administrator of the channel upon joining.



A popular open source IRC daemon.


Virtual host. See Cloak.
Voice [channel mode +v]
People with a Voice will be able to talk on channels that have mode +m (moderated) set. If mode +m is not set, it can be used as a status symbol. They are marked by a + before their nickname. May also bypass certain bans.
VOP [access level 3]
VOice People. Automatically gives a user a Voice upon joining the channel.


Display information about a specific connected user. Activated by the /whois [username] command.


When xOP is activated, aliases like AOP, VOP, ... can be used for the access list of a channel, else the access level number has to be used.



Zap Line. Bans an entire IP range from a server.