What Does RTFM Mean in a Text?

RTFM means "Read the F**king Manual." The abbreviation RTFM is an infuriated response to someone asking an unnecessary question. It suggests that if the asker looked properly, they could find the answer themselves.

RTFM probably has its origins in the military lingo used during World War 2, when it meant "Read The Field Manual." It was often used as a response to questions from new recruits.

Although rare, RTFM can also be used to reprimand someone after they have done a bad job. (In this meaning, however, the term RTFI (Read The F**king Instructions) is more common.)

Image for RTFM

When I write RTFM, I mean this:

meaning of RTFM

RTFM means you will find the information you need if you look for it.

Summary of Key Points

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

Adults and Teenagers

Examples of RTFM in Sentences

Here are examples of RTFM being used in conversations:
  • Ewan: How do I set the burglar alarm?
  • Fred: RTFM.
  • David: If you're not supposed to eat at night, why is there a light bulb in the refrigerator? And how do you change the bulb?
  • Matt: You can't be serious. RTFM.

An Academic Look at RTFM

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

RTFM 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 might have said something like "you should know this" instead of RTFM.

Example of RTFM Used in a Text

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