Internet Shorthand: What Does the Acronym "RL" Mean?

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Question: 'RL': How We Describe 'Real Life' to Our Online Friends

Answer: "RL" is the slang acronym for "Real Life". It is used to reference "my other responsibilities" or "what I do when I am not on the computer". RL is a common expression amongst groups of people who spend significant online time together: IM chat buddies, online gamers, people who work on virtual teams.

"RL" is often spelled all uppercase, but can be also spelled "rl".

All versions mean the same thing. Just be careful not to type entire sentences in uppercase, as that is considered rude shouting.

Example of RL Usage:

  • (first user:) Come on... let's run another dungeon for hour!
  • (second user:) Sry, man, RL is calling. If I don't cook dinner for the kids now, they'll hassle me all night for macaroni and cheese.
  • (third user:) LOL! RL is overrated, and you have too many kids anyways, hahaha

Another example of RL usage:

  • (first user:) OMG, where have you been, dude?
  • (second user:) Good to see you! Yeah, RL has been kicking me in the gut these last three weeks.  Guy on my shift quit, so I've been doing double shifts.
  • (first user:) Oh, man. That sucks. I hope RL is paying you double time for all your extra work!

The RL expression, like many cultural curiousities and memes of the Internet, is a part of modern English communication.

Read more Internet abbreviations and shorthand expressions...