RTFM is an initialism for the expression "read the fucking manual".

In expurgated texts, substitutions such as "read the frickn' manual", "read the factory manual", "read the flaming manual", "read the fine manual", "read the friendly manual", "read the [pause] manual" or similar variants are used.[1] Initialisms similar to RTFM include "STFW" ("search the fucking web"), "GIYF" ("Google is your friend"), "DYOR" (do your own research) and "LMGTFY" ("let me Google that for you"). These indicate that the questioner could have easily found the answer to their question on the World Wide Web or the product's own documentation. It may also suggest a certain degree of self-research is expected in a forum before asking questions.

Possible origins

The initialism appeared in print in 1979 on the table of contents page of the LINPACK User's Guide[2] in the form "R.T.F.M." -- Anonymous, suggesting that it was already well established. Cleve Moler has since revealed that a visit to Argonne National Laboratory by Tektronix software manager Ned Thanhouser during the development of MATLAB led to the anonymous quote.[3]

John Bear's 1983 book Computer Wimp! 166 Things I Wish I Had Known Before I Bought My First Computer! discusses the author hearing employees of a computer store mention RYFM ("read your fucking manual").[4]

List of alternative interpretations of RTFM

  • "read the fucking mail" (usually referring to e-mail)
  • "read the fucking Mail" (referring to the Daily Mail newspaper)
  • "read the fucking memo" (office setting)
  • "read the fucking message" (office setting or computer support)
  • "reboot the fucking machine" (computer support)
  • "reset to factory mode" (some routers and devices)

List of similar initialisms

  • RTBM ("read the bloody manual") (In some countries, e.g., the UK and Australia, this is a fractionally more polite alternative with identical meaning[5])
  • RTFA ("read the fucking/featured article"—common on news forums such as Fark.com[6] and Slashdot, where using "TFA" instead of "the article" has become a meme)
  • RTDA ("read the damn article")
  • RTDM ("read the damn menu")
  • RTDM ("read the damn manual")
  • WABM ("write a better manual" – an answer complaining that the manual is not written well)[7]
  • RTFE ("read the fucking error")
  • RTFM41 ("read the fucking manual for once")
  • RTFW ("read the fucking wiki")
  • RTFC ("read the fucking chart" – a response that Physicians give to coders who submit inappropriate queries)
  • RTFS ("read the fucking source" or "read the fucking standard")[8]
  • RTFB ("read the fucking binary")[9]
  • RTFQ ("read the fucking question")
  • RTMS ("read the manual, stupid")

See also


  1. Howard, Michael, David LeBlanc, and John Viega. 19 Deadly Sins of Software Security: Programming Flaws and How to Fix Them. New York: McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2005. ISBN 0-07-226085-8.
  2. Dongarra, J.J., C.B. Moler, J.R. Bunch, and G.W. Stewart. LINPACK User's Guide. Philadelphia: SIAM, 1979. ISBN 0-89871-172-X.
  3. Moler, Cleve. "The Tektronix 4081". Cleve's Corner. MathWorks Blogs. Retrieved 2014-02-17.
  4. Sperberg, Luther (1984-04-03). "Don't Be a Computer Wimp". PC Magazine. p. 261. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  5. "RTBM definition". foldoc.com. Retrieved 2009-12-08.
  6. "Routine traffic stop has man up in arms. Er, caught red-handed. Er, never mind, just RTFA". Fark.com. 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2009-01-27.
  7. "RTFM is a four-letter word". Software Sustainability Institute. Retrieved 2 December 2013.
  8. "RTFS". The Jargon File (version 4.4.7). Retrieved 8 March 2017.
  9. "RTFB". The Jargon File (version 4.4.7). Retrieved 8 March 2017.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.