If you’ve seen the phrase TL;DR popping up, and are wondering just what the heck TL;DR means or stands for, well, you’re not alone. Interestingly, the Oxford Dictionary just approved TL;DR as an official…um…word, for lack of a better term, along with fellow new word, “selfie“.
According to the OED (Oxford English Dictionary), TL;DR is “used as a dismissive response to a lengthy online post, or to introduce a summary of a lengthy post.”
Of course, the dual nature of TL;DR (where the DR could stand for “didn’t read” or “don’t read”) may lead to confusion as to just what the person using TL;DR means. Do they mean that they are lazy, or that they read it for you, and recommend that you don’t bother? Clearly which meaning they intend will colour how you yourself view the information that follows the TL;DR (and indeed may colour your view of the person who is saying it).
As we also mentioned in our article about the introduction of “selfie” into ‘official language’, we strongly recommend the most excellent book about the making of the original Oxford dictionary, The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary.
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