What Is 'TLDR'?

TLDR Is Used to Write or Request a Shortened Version of Text

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TLDR is an acronym for Too Long, Didn't Read. It's mainly seen on the web, either at the end or beginning of a long post or in the comments section. It's quite a common texting abbreviation.

If TLDR is mentioned in the post, the point is to provide a summary of the lengthy text so that someone can skip to the TLDR section and get a quick overview of what the story talks about without having to read the whole thing.

Comments that include the letters "TLDR" usually indicates that the text was too long and they didn't want to read it, but it might instead be the commenter's summary of the content. It might be used to tell the poster and other commenters that the comment might not be reflective of the post since it wasn't read in full, or it might be a little joke to show that this post is way too long and nobody has time to read all of it.

More Information on TLDR Usage

In the first usage mentioned above, when TLDR is in the post, it's a helpful subject line summary, where the poster offers a one-sentence or two-sentence summary of the many paragraphs to follow or precede the post.

TLDR is most commonly seen in very opinionated discussion forums, where the topics lend themselves to long rants. Controversial topics, like Barack Obama's healthcare policies, climate change, immigration, or the ethics of speeding in the city, can easily lure people to write hundreds of words of heated opinion.

However, TLDR posts can really be anywhere, including computer help forums and even online stories.

In the second usage of TLDR, the comment might not be quite an insult but rather a suggestion that the user above should consider abbreviating their writing. This might be used when the previous poster submitted more than a couple of paragraphs in the conversation.

TLDR Examples

In a comment:

  • (User 1) ...so, if you look at the above 17 cited instances, you cannot deny that climate change is a reality.
  • (User 2) TLDR
  • (User 1) So, you're too lazy to actually read the evidence posted here?
  • (User 2) Yup.

In a comment or post:

  • (User 1) I'm going to quote several paragraphs from the Criminal Code of Justice around speeding on interstates. TL;DR version: yes, the state police and the local counties can jail you for up to 72 hours if you are speeding on an interstate.

How and When to Write "TLDR"

Capitalization is a non-concern when using text message abbreviations and chat jargon. You are welcome to use all uppercase (e.g. TLDR) or all lowercase (e.g. tldr), and the meaning is identical. Avoid typing entire sentences in uppercase, though, because that usually indicates shouting.

Proper punctuation is similarly a non-concern with most text message abbreviations. For example, the abbreviation for 'Too Long, Didn't Read' can be abbreviated as TL;DR or as TLDR. Both are an acceptable format, with or without punctuation.

Never use periods (dots) between your jargon letters. It would defeat the purpose of speeding up thumb typing. For example, ROFL would never be spelled R.O.F.L.

, and TTYL would never be spelled T.T.Y.L.

Knowing when to use jargon in your messaging is about knowing who your audience is, knowing if the context is informal or professional, and then using good judgment. If you know the people well, and it is a personal and informal communication, then absolutely use abbreviation jargon. On the flip side, if you are just starting a friendship or professional relationship with the other person, it's best to avoid abbreviations until you have developed a relationship rapport.

If the messaging is in a professional context with someone at work, or with a customer or vendor outside your company, then avoid abbreviations altogether.

Using full word spellings shows professionalism and courtesy. It is much easier to err on the side of being too professional and then relax your communications over time than doing the inverse.