IRC Terms

You can expect to see these terms on this site, while browsing other IRC documentation, and while discussing IRC generally.


Room where one or more users can talk with each other.

Channel Operator

User who administrates a channel.

Connection registration

This describes the period from when a user connects, to when the RPL_WELCOME (001) numeric and burst is sent to them. In other words, it begins when they connect and finishes when they are fully connected to the server and can use all regular commands.

It should be noted that ‘registration’ here does not refer to IRC account registration (such as through NickServ or SASL). Here, ‘registration’ means the user setting up their connection and connection details (such as nickname, username, and capabilities) with the server.

During the connection registration period, most commands cannot be used, and certain commands act differently.

Connection registration burst

This ‘burst’ is sent by the server to a client when that client successfully connects to the network (when they finish connection registration). The connection registration burst includes the 001–005 numerics, a LUSERS response, the RPL_UMODEIS response if modes are set, any other numerics and responses deemed necessary by the server, and finishes with an MOTD response.


Short for ‘half-operator’, this is a rank halfway between an unprivlidged user and a channel operator, with a mix of privlidges that differs depending on the server software in use.

IRC Operator

User who administrates one or more servers on an IRC network. May also be referred to as a “Network Operator” or “Server Operator”.

Network Operator

Another name for an IRC Operator, but typically refers to a user who does administrates across the network, on multiple servers. Sometimes also called a NetAdmin or “Network Admin”.


Short for Operator, but typically means an IRC Operator on its own because of the OPER command.


When a regular user authenticates and becomes an IRC Operator, they have ‘opered-up’. Sometimes also called “opering”, or “opering-up”.


This term can refer to either an IRC Operator or a Channel Operator. Knowing those two terms helps figure out which is being used with context.


This refers to how privileged you are in a given channel. For example, having a rank of channel op means that you get the rank prefix @. This may also be called prefix, status, and a few other terms depending on who you talk to, but we prefer this term.

Server Operator

Another name for an IRC Operator, but typically refers to a user who’s in charge of one specific server on the network.

Development Terms

These terms are more specifically terms you'd hear while discussing IRC development, or specific areas of IRC dev. In addition, the terms here may be ones which we coin (with some precedence) to keep our own docs consistent.


In command documentation, we use the term ‘silent’ to mean that the command, if successful, sends no response to the user. For example, the NICK command, when used during connection registration, is silent as the command itself sends no response when successful.

Contributors to this page: Daniel Oaks

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