What Does RTFI Mean in a Text?

RTFI means "Read the F**king Instructions." The abbreviation RTFI is usually an exasperated response to a question that need not have been asked (because the answer was apparent in an instruction manual). However, RTFI can also be used as a reprimand after someone has made a hash (i.e., a bad job) of something by not reading the instructions supplied. (RTFI is similar to DEAR (Drop Everything And Read), but DEAR is usually sent before the disaster has occurred as opposed to afterwards.)

Image for RTFI

When I write RTFI, I mean this:

meaning of RTFI

The image shows a person reading the instructions.

Summary of Key Points

"Read the F**king Instructions" is the most common definition for RTFI on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:Read the F**king Instructions
Guessability:guessability level 2
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:typical user

Adults and Teenagers

Examples of RTFI in Sentences

Here are examples of RTFI being used in conversations:
  • Roger: I'm trying to set up my TV, but I can't get any channels.
  • Terry: Just RTFI.
  • Ralph: Where does this bit go?
  • Daisy: If you RTFI, you'll find out!

An Academic Look at RTFI

RTFI is an initialism abbreviation. Technically, this means it is pronounced using its individual letters (i.e., Arr Tee Eff Eye), but as this is harder to say than "Read the f***ing instructions," it is not often uttered using its letters. In other words, the abbreviation RTFI is for efficiency in writing and not efficiency in speech.

RTFI is typically used as an imperative (i.e., an order) and can stand alone as a complete sentence.

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we would have just said something like "read the instructions" instead of RTFI.

Example of RTFI Used in a Text

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