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Home / Tips and Tricks / What does “TIL” mean and how do you use it?

What does “TIL” mean and how do you use it?

The letters
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Have you recently learned a new and exciting fact that you want to share with the world? Then you may want to use “TIL”

; to share that information. This is what the acronym means and how to use it.

“Today I learned”

TIL stands for “today I learned”. People use it to share a fact they have recently learned. That fact could be something as simple as a new route on the way home, or it could be an obscure, interesting fact picked up on the Internet.

TIL is almost always spelled in capital letters. It is also often placed at the beginning of a sentence, immediately before the whole new piece of information. It can be used with a colon or dash. For example: “TIL: Vatican City is the smallest country in the world.”

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The history of TIL

Unlike other common internet language terms that began in the chat rooms of the 1990s and later spread in the online language, TIL’s history is much more recent. Although its origins have been disputed in the past, it probably came about in the mid-2000s. It was used on early social networks and link aggregation sites to allow users to share cool facts that they recently discovered.

In late 2008, the subreddit r / TodayILearned was due to appear on Reddit, eventually elevating the relatively unused term from obscurity to fame. Today, the r / TodayILearned subreddit is one of the largest communities on the entire platform, with over 24 million subscribed users. Interesting facts are still regularly posted, and the most popular often end up on the front page of Reddit.

The world of TIL

An illustration with facts coming out of a laptop as if it were a book.

One of the unique things about TIL is the wide range of websites and situations in which it can be used.

The first is Reddit, which is believed to have originated the term. Aside from the r / TodayILearned subreddit, there are many other subreddits devoted to sharing interesting facts. Additionally, many posts on other subreddits adopt the “TIL” format.

Many Twitter accounts are dedicated to sharing interesting facts, and many of them take from the original subreddit. If you have interesting information to share with your followers, you can use “TIL” or “Today I Learned” in your tweet.

The media have also picked up on TIL. Many news and educational outlets now regularly use TIL to share valuable, exciting facts with their readers. A notable example of this is National Geographic, which hosts a daily video series called ‘Today I Learned’. Much of the facts shared here pertain to National Geographic’s mainstream content, including topics related to wildlife, nature, and space exploration.

Brand new information

Another common use of TIL is when a piece of information is not necessarily revolutionary, but rather something the user thinks they found out too late. This use of TIL is most commonly seen on forums such as Reddit or social media platforms such as Twitter. An example of this could be someone who responds to a comment indicating that pop singer Dua Lipa is actually called “Dua Lipa”. That’s why they wrote, “TIL Dua Lipa isn’t a stage name.”

It could also be an essential piece of information that they only recently realized. For example, if someone has just found out that their mouse has an adjustable DPI, they might say, “UNTIL I can adjust the DPI of my mouse.”

“TIL” can also be used sarcastically. For example, let’s say you come across a piece of information about yourself that is completely incorrect. In that case, you could be creepy with “TIL that I am a professional gymnast. Not!”

How do I use TIL?

TIL and Today I Learned are both fairly common terms on the Internet, especially on social media websites and online message boards. You can use the two interchangeably. As TIL has become a common term in reputable publications, it can be used both casually and professionally.

Here are a few examples of TIL in action:

  • UNTIL the Earth is over 4.5 billion years old.
  • TIL that the human nose can detect a trillion smells.
  • UNTIL I used my blender the wrong way all the time!

If you want to say you’ve learned the meaning of popular internet terms today, you should check out our pieces on Yeet and HMU.

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