Slang dictionary

left on read

[left on red]

What does left on read mean?

In internet slang, a person is left on read when a recipient has read, but not responded to, a sender’s message. The expression is often used to express feeling ignored.

Related words

curve, stashing, throwing shade, Irish goodbye

Where does left on read come from?

read receipt lets the sender know a digital message has been opened or seen (i.e., read) by the recipient. Microsoft Outlook, for instance, allows read receipts for email. Apple has enabled read receipts for text messages since 2011.

Mieux Magazine

In the digital age, however, many of us have come to expect speedy responses, and not getting one can produce anxiety. You may send a message, your phone or computer may show that it’s been read, and yet…no response. You’ve been left on read–feeling snubbed or ignored. (Of course, the person you’re messaging could simply be busy, but where’s the drama in that?)

The expression left on read dates back to at least 2016, when it was entered into Urban Dictionary. In 2017–18, a number of popular publications online discussed left on read in the context of dating and romantic relationships, where the frustrations of being left on read can be particularly keen.

Examples of left on read

when lana del rey wrote pretty when u cry she really was thinking about pretty girls getting left on read by ugly boys
@cuntyangel, February 2019
Sending a text and waiting in panic for a response is about as comfortable as sitting in a chair with three legs or using a wet towel to dry off after a shower ... Here are some signs of healthy texting between partners that are not to be left on read.
Griffin Wynne, Elite Daily, January 2019

Who uses left on read?

Left on read is typically used of text messages, as well as messages on social media platforms like WhatsApp and Instagram. Some of those platforms enable users to be notified when a message has been viewed.

The implication of left on read is that the receiver is deliberately ignoring the sender, making them feel unimportant.

This can feel especially sore when the person is a new romantic interest, but don’t panic! They might just be busy …

… or, if they are leaving you on read, as the expression can be so conjugated, they might be ghosting you. Hey, you’re better off without them.

Just Added

Swiftie, BFFR, gyatt, vibecession, boyfriend air


This is not meant to be a formal definition of left on read like most terms we define on, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of left on read that will help our users expand their word mastery.