or tldr, TL;DR, tl;dr

too long; didn’t read: used in response to an online post, text message, article, etc., that is thought to be too lengthy, and usually taken as a rude comment, or used by the writer before a summary of lengthy text.

Origin of TLDR

First recorded in 2000–05; from its use in digital communications Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does TLDR mean?

Tl;dr or tldr stands for “too long; didn’t read.”

While the internet acronym can criticize a piece of writing as overly long, it often is used to give a helpful, witty, or snarky summary of a much longer story or complicated phenomenon.

Where does TLDR come from?

The abbreviation tl;dr is found on a Usenet newsgroup about video games as early as 2002 and earned entry on Urban Dictionary by the following year. Originally, tl;dr was an insult, used in reaction to some post, comment, or content seen as wordy or long-winded—as if literally saying “This is way too long, so I didn’t read it.”

By 2005, tl;dr had taken on a second meaning as a shorthand for a “summary,” frequently called the tl;dr version of a longer account or article. Tl;dr took off with social media in the 2010s, boosted by the practice of linking out to longer content on platforms like Twitter while offering a quick take on it.

Memes sometimes use tl;dr to suggest prominent figures haven’t read some text they claim to value, like the Bible or U.S. Constitution.

How is TLDR used in real life?

Tl;dr can give a genuine summary of a much longer piece—the gist, the big takeaway, the moral of the story.

This is the schtick of one film review site, TL;DR Movies, which opens each review with a brief judgment before going into its longer view, like this tl;dr on Avengers: Infinity Wars: “TL;DR – Infinity War brings everyone together and then tears them apart leaving you with a foreboding as to what will happen next, but also an excitement as they try to work it all out.”

People might also use tl;dr in personal accounts along the lines of “to make a long story short” or “to get to the point”:

Tl;dr can also issue a snarky take on a longer, more complex topic, as if boiling it down to its essence.

One might dismiss a document seen as overly long with a tl;dr, like those ridiculously long and dense “Terms of Service” forms we always sign without ever reading.

Occasionally, tl;dr can stand for too lazy, didn’t read, sometimes used when a person makes fun of their own short attention span.

Based on its form, others humorously call and imagine tl;dr as a teal deer, a kind of spirit animal guiding us through the wilderness of too much internet content.

More examples of TLDR:

“If you’re super lazy and didn’t read the TL;DR version, here’s a TL;DR of the TL;DR: getting old kinda sucks; we change (sometimes for the worse) and the people we love and used to recognise change around us.”
—Bradley Russell, GamesRadar+, January, 2018


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

Example sentences from the Web for tldr