What Does TTYL Mean?

You’ve probably read it in a text or seen it online, but what does it mean, and how is it used?

In today’s digital world, the number of text abbreviations seems to be growing endlessly. Here’s one you might have seen: TTYL. Maybe you got it in a text, or you read it online somewhere—but what does TTYL mean? 

Along with ICYMI and FWIW, there are countless common acronyms used in text messaging that aren’t always intuitive. But don’t worry, we’ve gotten to the bottom of it, so you never have to wonder about texting etiquette, or group texting etiquette, again.

What does TTYL mean?

TTYL stands for “talk to you later.” Effectively, it’s the same as “goodbye,” or “see you later.” It’s used in texting or chatting to denote the fact that the sender is leaving the conversation, but you’ll talk to them again soon. 

In general, it’s a casual, informal way to say goodbye for now—like BRB (be right back) or AFK (away from keyboard). You might send it to a friend or an acquaintance. On the topic of acronyms, here’s the difference between an acronym vs. abbreviation vs. initialism.

Where did TTYL come from?

As with most text abbreviations, TTYL came from the dawn of the Internet and the rise of instant messaging platforms, like AIM, ICQ, and MSN, in the 1990s and early 2000s. But aside from instant messaging, what does TTYL mean in texting? As it turns out, exactly the same thing.

Because it took longer to type out entire phrases, abbreviations and acronyms were commonly used to save time, as well as because SMS messages (or texts) limit how many characters you can send in one text, typically to 160.

While it wasn’t entered into Urban Dictionary—a crowdsourced online dictionary of slang terms—until 2002, some think TTYL originally stemmed from “ta-ta, you all,” a popular British saying of the same meaning in the 1980s. For more acronyms, here’s what P.S. stands for.

How do you use TTYL?

Now that you know what TTYL means, it’s important to know how to use it correctly. You can use it as a stand-alone or somewhere in the middle or end of another message, and it can be all-capitalized or lowercase.

  • I have to get to sleep early for my morning meeting. TTYL!
  • Gotta run, the kids are calling. TTYL!
  • TTYL, my tea is boiling over.
  • I’ll have to ttyl, the plane’s about to board.

Next, what does GIF stand for?


Quinn Fish
Quinn Fish is an associate editor for Reader’s Digest who leads the newsletter team, crafting the content strategy across all lifestyle topics for the daily and weekly newsletters that reach nearly a million inboxes. When she’s not working, you can find Quinn crafting, doing yoga, reading thrillers or watching live comedy.