Has anyone ever sent you the four-letter acronym “TTYL”
“Talk to you later!”
TTYL stands for “talk to you later”. This initialism is used to tell someone you are leaving the conversation and you will talk to them later. It is often used as a substitute for ‘goodbye’ or ‘goodbye’. It means that you will message each other again in the future.
It is closely related to two other Internet acronyms: BRB and AFK, which stand for “right back” and “away from keyboard” respectively. All three indicate that you will be away for a certain amount of time. However, BRB and AFK often denote a shorter period of time (such as a few minutes), while TTYL is often used when you are away for a long time, such as a few hours or days.
TTYL also means that you have to stop chatting at this point because you have something else to do. For example, when you’re ready to go to sleep, you can text, “ I’m going to bed. TALK TO YOU LATER.”
RELATED: What does “BRB” mean and how do you use it?
Where TTYL started
TTYL has been used online for a long time. Its origins can be traced back to the early days of Internet chat rooms, such as IRC, where people often used abbreviated acronyms instead of full sentences.
The term gained even more attention with the emergence of instant messaging apps, such as AIM, MSN, and Yahoo Messenger, where it was often used before unsubscribing. Since portable Internet devices were uncommon at the time, it was standard online etiquette to tell others you were shutting down your computer.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when SMS became the most common form of digital communication alongside email, TTYL was the way most people said goodbye to an SMS partner.
The first definition of TTYL on Urban Dictionary was published in June 2002, barely three years after the website was founded. However, it has been in use for a long time and still is, both online and offline.
In response to its widespread use, TTYL was even added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2016, along with other Internet initials including SMH and TBH.
RELATED: What does “TBH” mean and how do you use it?
TTYL in chat and online
Today, TTYL is commonly used in many online settings, especially mobile messaging apps such as WhatsApp, iMessage, and Telegram. Since people now tend to have their mobile devices with them all the time, TTYL often means that someone has to do something else for a while and can’t use their phone.
Again, TTYL means that you will talk to this person again. When to start chatting again is not defined – it can be later the same day or the next day. That’s why TTYL is usually used in conversations with someone with whom you are already in a committed relationship.
However, sometimes you can use TTYL even if you don’t plan on talking to someone again right away. In that case, use TTYL as a polite goodbye rather than a literal definition.
TTYL in Life and Pop Culture
Compared to other online initialisms, TTYL has become a particularly well-known term in pop culture. In 2004 a book was even released called talk to you later. Lauren Myracle’s young adult novel is written entirely as text conversations between teens. The book became a New York Times bestseller, further cementing the acronym’s popularity.
Of course, the phrase “talk to you later” predates the Internet by many years. It is still commonly used in face-to-face and phone conversations before breaking up or ending a conversation. It has similar “goodbye” or “goodbye” connotations, but these are more commonly used at the end of in-person meetings.
How to use TTYL
TTYL can be used in both upper and lower case, but “ttyl” is more common in younger people. To use TTYL, simply substitute the acronym for goodbye, as in the examples below:
- “I have to walk my dog. TALK TO YOU LATER.”
- ‘The plane is now taking off. talk to you later!”
- “Of course I’ll talk about it.”
- ‘My phone is about to die. I will TTYL. “
If you want to learn more about other online slang terms, be sure to check out our articles on NVM and IMO. You’ll be chatting like an internet expert in no time!