What Does TTYL Stand For?

Understand how to use this abbreviation

An illustration of 'ttyl' used in conversation on a mobile device.

Nusha Ashjaee / Lifewire

If you've ever seen the letters TTYL on the end of a text message, the acronym stands for "talk to you later." TTYL expresses "goodbye for now" or "we'll talk again soon." Like most internet jargon, the expression is not suitable for initial business dealings. TTYL is best used in personal texting, email, online chatting, or in special circumstances where a business acquaintance has become a friend.

Both uppercase and lowercase versions of TTYL (ttyl) mean the same thing and are perfectly acceptable.

When texting or communicating online, be careful not to type entire sentences in uppercase; this conveys shouting.

Examples of TTYL Usage

Example 1:

  • (User 1) Gotta go, boss is coming.
  • (User 2) kk, ttyl.

Example 2:

  • (User 1) Sec, telephone ringing...
  • (User 2) ok, no worries.
  • (User 1) OK, I'm back. That was my kid, I need to pick her up from school right now. I guess she forgot her bus pass at home.
  • (User 2) no worries, TTYL!

Example 4:

  • (User 1) Sorry I didn't say goodbye before leaving the party. You were in the backyard somewhere, and I couldn't find you.
  • (User 2) That's OK. I hope everything went well with your Uber ride.
  • (User 1) Uber was good. I think I'll use them again when we go for dinner on Sunday.
  • (User 2) Excellent. TTYL, my man! 

Origins of the Modern TTYL Expression

While the exact origins of the acronym are unclear, some say TTYL stems from the expression "ta ta, you all," which was a popular way to say goodbye in parts of England in the '80s. If this is true, the Americanized variant "talk to you later" must have overwhelmed the original expression.

Expressions Similar to TTYL:

  • BRB (Be right back)
  • BBIAB (Be back in a bit)
  • GTG (Got to go)
  • Toodles (Goodbye for now)
  • TTFN (Ta Ta for now)
  • CU (See you)
  • CUL8R (See you later)

Capitalizing and Punctuating Web and Text Abbreviations

Capitalization is a non-concern when using text abbreviations and chat jargon. Use all uppercase (e.g., ROFL, which means "rolling on floor, laughing") or all lowercase (e.g., rofl) letters and the meaning is identical.

Proper punctuation is similarly a non-concern with most text message abbreviations. For example, the abbreviation for "too long, didn't read" can be TL;DR or TLDR. Both are acceptable.

Never use periods (dots) between your acronym letters; it would defeat the purpose of being a shortcut. For example, ROFL would never be spelled R.O.F.L., and TTYL would never be T.T.Y.L. 

Recommended Etiquette for Web and Text Jargon 

When tempted to use jargon in messages, evaluate who your audience is, if the context is informal or professional, and then use good judgment. If you know someone well and it is a personal and informal communication, then absolutely use abbreviations. On the flip side, if you are just starting a friendship or professional relationship, avoid abbreviations until you've developed a relationship rapport.

If messaging in a professional context with someone at work, or with a customer or vendor outside your company, avoid abbreviations altogether. Spelling out full words shows professionalism and courtesy. It is much smarter to err on the side of being too professional at first, and then relax your communication over time organically.