Although I’ve adopted a few initialisms such as BTW, LOL, and IMHO in my own informal writing, I’m mostly ignorant of the alphabet soup current on Twitter and other social media sites.
When a reader recently introduced me to the combination DRTL, I realized that this new language represents not just a kind of shorthand, but also a new philosophy of written language. This particular construct, DRTL, seems to me to symbolize the new philosophy:
DRTL = Didn’t Read, Too Long.
Note: A more common version of DRTL is TLDR or tl;dr, meaning “too long; didn’t read.
Strings of commonly understood letter combinations such as FYI (For your information), TGIF (Thank God it’s Friday), and ASAP (As soon as possible) pre-date the Internet, of course, but they never occurred in the profusion that exists now. Readers who share my lack of currency in Abbreviation-Speak may find the following list useful.
AFAIK: As far as I know
AIUI: As I understand it
BTDT: Been there, Done that
BTW: By the way
F2F: Face to face
FOAF: Friend of a friend
FWIW: For What it’s worth
GAL: Get a life
GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out
HTH: Hope that helps
IANAL: I am not a lawyer
ICYMI: In case you missed it
IIRC: If I recall correctly
IMHO: In my humble opinion
IMO: In my opinion
IRL: In real life
ISTM: It seems to me
JK (also J/K) Just kidding
LOL: Laughing out loud
OMG: Oh, My God
OTOH: On the other hand
OTT: Over the top
STW: Search the Web
TIL: Today I learned
TMI Too much information
TTYL: Talk to you later
WYSIWYG: What you see is what you get
Of course this list is a mere scratching of the surface. And I’ve deliberately left out the ones that contain a gratuitous F. Nevertheless, even a short list may help a few codgers navigate Twitter with a little more comprehension. HTH.
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13 Responses to “Internet Initialisms”
Regarding STW (“Search The Web”), you may also be interested in the more snarky “LMGTFY”…which translates to “Let Me Google That For You.”
In usage, one also typically posts a link to LMGTFY.org, where the appropriate search term was already entered. When the recipient clicks on the link, the LMGTFY site plays a sarcastic animation of moving the mouse cursor to the search box on Google.com and entering the search terms and clicking the search button. Afterward, the site redirects you to the actual Google search results. It’s a way to imply that the person asked the question unnecessarily, and should have done some research on their own before asking.
2 from the gaming community:
BRB – be right back
AFK – away from keyboard
2 from the texting crowd
OMW – on my way
BRT – be right there
And 1 more, which has made its way into common language
BFF – best friend forever
@venqax: if you think that’s long, what’s with that semicolon in there? I’m a semicolon fan but I say no way.
@opsimath: I have used NNTR (no need to reply) but yours is shorter so I’ll go with that in the future.
Thank you for the list; I have never come across DRTL but it seems reasonable, if non-standard. One I have used on occasion, often to no avail whatever, is NRN, or No Response Necessary. Otherwise, I have found emails, even more than snail mail, frequently comes down to a string of ‘Thank yous’.
Anne Victory: Sean, I’m glad you said that. I’ve always seen the “teal deer” too–TLDR
I never even read past TL…four letters is awful long for an acronym…
The reader who alerted me to the “too long to read” expression used DRTL and when I looked for usage, I found that initialism. Thanks to your comment, I see that TLDR is more common, especially in lower case with a semicolon: tl;dr.
Sean, I’m glad you said that. I’ve always seen the “teal deer” too–TLDR or TL;DR. DRTL seriously threw me for a loop.
Love it! Most of these I knew, and many I use routinely (OTOH, FWIW, IMO, TMI, TYVM (which you didn’t mention) and some others, but DRTL (or TLDR) was new to me, as were a few others. My daughter, who is 22, uses IDK (I don’t know), and SMH (smack my head) as in “duh!” She also likes to complain with “FML” (which is one you didn’t cover, for stated reason), but what makes me laugh about that is a tidbit I found online that says, “As of late 2010, an attempt [was] being made by some Christians to rechristen the term “Forgive Me Lord.” You can’t please everyone.
GIGO was around when I was in college (so we are talking…aieeeee…almost 40 years ago), when I took an accounting class and we had FIFO and LIFO, which naturally led to GIGO…your bottom line is only as reliable as the data entered.
AFA which of these initialisms I might soon add to my repertoire, I think IANAL is a really good one, and maybe could be altered to include IANAD (for non-doctors), IANARS (for non-rocket-scientists), etc.
And in closing, don’t forget ILY and ILY2 🙂
DRTL isn’t a thing. TL;DR means “Too long; didn’t read.”
FIJAH/FIOAH (Fandom is Just/Only a Hobby)
IM(NS)HO (In My ‘Not So’ Humble Opinion)
and my two favorites:
ROTFL and ROTFL(ASTC)
Rolling On The Floor Laughing (And Scaring The Cats)
Like Sean, I learned it as TL;DR–which was explained to me as the Cliff Notes version of complaining that Cliff Notes were too long. 🙂
I’m going to nominate GTTP…which I can use on way too many stories I read. (get to the point)
“DRTL”? The standard Internet initialism for that is “TLDR”.
Ashley R Pollard
My experience suggests that the more common usage is TL;DR – Too Long; Didn’t Read.