[Ads-l] RTFM

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 6 17:55:30 UTC 2015


Here is an inexact citation for RYFM and "Read your friendly manual"
that probably appeared in 1983. (Wikipedia cites a 1983 book.)

PC World began publishing in March 1983 (sayeth Wikipedia). Somewhere
in volume 1 there was a discussion of the acronym RYFM. The magazine
printed the bowdlerized acronymic expansion: "Read your friendly
manual", but the magazine also explained that the actual referent for
"f" was a different word.

Year: 1983 (sayeth GB)
Periodical: PC World
Volume 1
Quote Page 88
(Google Books snippet data which may be inaccurate and should be
verified on paper)

[Begin extracted text]
Acronyms Unlimited

We've heard another intriguing new term from the jargon front that was
obviously spawned by the computer age. It's RYFM (pronounced riff-um),
and it has come into popular use among computer dealers and
technicians. Explains one dealer we know, confidentially, "Ninety
percent of the questions and calls we get from users can be answered
the same way -- RYFM -- which stands for 'Read your friendly manual.'"
Our friend added that occasionally a vexed dealer or technician may
replace friendly with another word that begins with f.
[End extracted text]

Years ago, my favorite expansion for RTFM was "Read the Fine Manual".
Garson

On Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 12:19 PM, Jonathan Lighter
<wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: RTFM
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Thanks, Garson.
>
> I am very skeptical of asserted usage before the late '70s.
>
> On the other hand, the exasperated phrase "Read the fucking manual!" may go
> back nearly to the invention of manuals.
>
> Anyone recalling being told that long ago might easily retroject the
> acronym onto the era of the memory.
>
> JL
>
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 12:15 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> -----------------------
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:      Re: RTFM
>>
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>
>> Thanks, Jesse.
>>
>> Early exx. are mainly computer-related.
>>
>> Making it even less likely that the acronym had much - if any - currency
>> before 1950.
>>
>> JL
>>
>> On Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 11:00 AM, Jesse Sheidlower <jester at panix.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> > -----------------------
>> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> > Poster:       Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM>
>> > Subject:      Re: RTFM
>> >
>> >
>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> >
>> > There's a 1983 example in _The F-Word_ from a computer discussion group
>> on
>> > Usenet.
>> >
>> > Jesse Sheidlower
>> >
>> > On Fri, Nov 06, 2015 at 10:46:07AM -0500, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> > > Another website avers that this popular acronym for "Read The $*^^%!!
>> > > Manual" was in use in the late '40s.
>> > >
>> > > GB offers nothing before 1990, and I didn't encounter it till  maybe
>> > 2001.
>> > >
>> > > Can anybody recall it from before 1990?
>> > >
>> > > JL
>> > > --
>> > > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
>> > truth."
>> > >
>> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> >
>> > ------------------------------------------------------------
>> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>> >
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>>
>
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


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