The Meaning of OTL: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the meaning of the internet slang term OTL? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the acronym OTL, including its meaning, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the acronym OTL stand for?

According to 7 ESL, Cyber Definitions, and Urban Dictionary, the acronym OTL has a few different possible meanings. First, the acronym OTL can stand for “out to lunch.” One might use this meaning of OTL if their friend or colleague is texting them and they are not at home or in the office, but are either at a lunch meeting or in a restaurant. This implies that the user cannot perform whatever task or answer whatever question the person is asking because they are out to lunch.

Second, the abbreviation OTL can stand for “one true love.” This is very similar to the acronym OTP. According to Merriam-Webster, an OTP or “ship” is when someone believes two characters from a book, videogame, film, or other form of media should be romantically involved. They might create fan art or write fanfiction about their OTP, which is their favorite “ship” or relationship, and believe the two of them are meant to be. One of the most famous examples of an OTP is Bella and Edward from the book and film series Twilight. One could also use OTL to refer to their own “one true love.” Someone might use OTL in the caption of an Instagram or other social media post to show that they are spending time with their OTL, or one true love.

Finally, OTL is also used as a Korean emoticon. In Korea, this is used to express desperation or disappointment. Each of the different letters represent something different, and they come together to form an image of a man kneeling down with both hands on the ground. The O represents the man’s head, the T represents his arms to the ground, and the L represents his legs. A Korean person might use this emoticon as a reaction to something disappointing via SMS text message or on social media.

While these definitions of OTL are the most common, The Free Dictionary and Acronym Finder also list numerous other meanings of the acronym OTL. While these are still acceptable definitions, they are far less common and should be used sparingly. It can get confusing if someone uses a random acronym with no context, so one should ensure that the context is clear before using any of the definitions of OTL.

  • Outer Tube Limit (heat exchangers)
  • Overhead Transmission Line
  • Opportunity to Learn (various organizations)
  • Optical Transmission Loss
  • Oracle Time and Labor (business software)
  • Over Time Limit (auto racing)
  • Operations Team Leader
  • Optical Transport Layer (Ciena)
  • Outdoor Test Laboratory
  • Outside the Lines
  • Oxidizer Topping Line
  • Open Type Layout
  • Oracle Top Link
  • Online Teaching and Learning
  • Operating Time Limit (aviation)
  • Observer Target Line
  • Output Transformer-Less (audio systems)
  • Operating Temperature Limit
  • Oracle Time and Labor
  • Onward Technologies, Ltd. (various locations)
  • Outline
  • Output Transformer Less
  • Office of Technology Licensing
  • Off the List
  • Only the Lonely
  • Overtime Loss (hockey)
  • Off the Line (marching band)
  • Our Timeline
  • Oldtimer Tractorenclub Lochristi (Dutch: Lochristi Oldtimer Tractor Club; Lochristi, Belgium)
  • Orange Township Library (Rome City, IN)
  • Operational Test Launch
  • On the Low
  • OpenType Layout
  • Optimum Transmission Level
  • Ogden Technology Laboratories
  • Oil Tank Light
  • Oberstleutnant (German military; Lieutenant Colonel)
  • Over The Line (tournament in San Diego, CA, USA)
  • On the Loose (outdoors club of the Claremont Colleges)

How can the acronym OTL be used in a sentence?

Since the acronym OTL has multiple different meanings, this means it can be used in different ways in different sentences. However, one should note the acronym OTL as well as other internet slang is considered very casual and should never be used in professional or formal contexts like business emails or letters.

In this first example, OTL will be used to stand for “out to lunch.” Allie and Maria are coworkers, and Allie is on a business lunch. Maria texts her about a problem.

Maria: Hey Allie, I think our servers are down. Do you think you could ask IT about it? I’m not sure what to do.

Allie: OTL with a client but will take a look as soon as I get back!

Maria: TYSM!

In this next example, OTL will stand for “one true love.” Here, Allie and Maria are discussing a book that they both read.

Allie: I’m obsessed with Ciara and Luke together.

Maria: WTH no! Their relationship is so toxic!

Allie: But it’s so INTERESTING! They are totally each other’s OTL.

In this final example, the acronym OTL will be used as the Korean emoticon for desperation. Allie has an update on the server fiasco.

Allie: IT came and took a look at the server. They have to do a full replacement of it, it’s gonna be down for like a week.

Maria: OTL no!

Overall, the acronym OTL stands for a few different things. First, it can stand for :out to lunch.” Someone might use this to let someone who is texting them know that they are ont home or in their office and therefore cannot answer a question or perform a task that is being asked of them at that moment. Second, OTL can stand for “one true love,” which is used to refer to one’s romantic partner. This can also be used to refer to fictional couples that one is a fan of. Finally OTL is also a Korean emoticon that is used to express disappointment, and is supposed to look like a man kneeling with his hands on the ground. Because OTL has so many meanings, one should ensure the context is clear before using it.

Sources:

  1. https://7esl.com/otl/
  2. https://www.cyberdefinitions.com/definitions/OTL.html#:~:text=OTL%20means%20%22Out%20to%20Lunch%22.
  3. https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=OTL
  4. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/what-does-otp-mean-one-true-pairing#:~:text=OTP%20is%20an%20abbreviation%20meaning%20%22one%20true%20pair%2Fpairing.%22
  5. https://acronyms.thefreedictionary.com/OTL
  6. https://www.acronymfinder.com/Slang/OTL.html