The ILY is a sign from American Sign Language (ASL) which, as a gesture, has moved into the mainstream. It is used in the United States and other Americanized countries. It originated in American Sign Language as a combination of the letters I, L and Y (I Love You). The sign is a very informal way of expressing a number of positive emotions ranging from general esteem to love for the recipient of the sign.
Deaf Heritage dates the origin of the ILY to 1905. However, resident students of deaf schools from the early Twentieth Century do not recall seeing the sign anywhere until the 1970s. The sign received star power as a result of presidential candidate Jimmy Carter picking it up from a group of Deaf supporters in the Midwest. During his Inauguration Day parade, he flashed the ILY to a group of Deaf people on the sidewalk. The sign got media coverage and was introduced to both Deaf and hearing people.
- More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:ILY_sign ]