What do three horizontal dots mean

What do the three (3) points "..." in the chat mean for messengers? Meaning of the ellipsis, definition

The three (3) points "..." in chat or text messages are so-called ellipses. They are written by human users or used by the system.

If three dots "..." are displayed in the chat or in the messenger, this means that the other person is writing. However, the message is not yet ready and has therefore not yet been sent.

What do the three dots in the text messenger mean?

The three dots are faded in as soon as the other person writing has started to write the first characters. Only shortly before the message has been sent are the dots hidden and almost instantly replaced by the message. If the other person writing closes the app while writing without sending the message beforehand, the three dots will be hidden.

In technical terms, this is called "Typing Indicator" or "Typing Awareness Indicator". "Typing Indicator" means in German that someone or another receives the information that someone or another is currently writing. This serves as an indication that others should wait for the message.

The three points are also referred to as “point point point” or “little dot dot dot”.

You can find out why punctuation marks are not pack animals here.

Meaning of the three points "..." in chat and text messages

If human chat or messenger participants write three points in their message, this can have different meanings. Depending on where the points are in a message, they have a different (different) meaning.

In general, if the three points "..." are at the end of a sentence, the point that would normally end the sentence is left out.

As a rule, three points “…” are used, not two, four, five or more.

Ellipsis in words (as an abbreviation)

Letters of words can be omitted. This happens, for example, with a riddle, when someone should not be named or someone does not want to spell out swear words.


  • A city with M….
  • You know, B ... was there.
  • What a sh ... but also!
  • Verda ... Ka ...!

Ellipsis to transition a thought (to indicate a pause)

The three points serve as a transition to a new thought. They symbolize thoughtfulness and stand for a break or an interruption. The three points do not replace a word.


  • cool, that makes me happy
  • I know.
  • I don't know ... be that as it may ...

However, the ellipses can stand for uncertainty, hesitation, or fearfulness.


  • I ... I don't know if you ... want to or can hear that, but ...
  • …are you there …?

Whole words are left out at the end of a message

If someone omits whole words or parts of sentences, the three dots serve as symbols. In this case someone created an ellipse.


  • You would never ...
  • Sometimes I wish ...
  • I wish you would ...
  • We don't want that, but please ...
  • I tell you that if you ...
  • ... did it.
  • I would have loved to meet you ...

There can be various reasons why someone did not fully express a thought. In general, this kind of ellipsis creates curiosity and interest.

An author uses three points to show that a thought is open and not yet finished.

Three points at the beginning serve as an introduction to a message.

Further meaning of the three points

Three points “…” are also used in other areas.

Ellipsis indicate a sequence

The sequence works in the sense that a reader recognizes the logic and can independently replace the numbers or characters left out by "...". This is popular in math and is often used when it comes to infinite calculations.


  • 1,2,…8
  • n + 1, n + 2, n + 3, ... n + x

Ellipses in quotations

In quotations, the three points […] stand for words that were left out, which the author found unnecessary.

It is important that words left out in quotations are replaced by three points in square brackets.


  • He said that [...] it was him.

Ellipsis to indicate that the computer is working

When a computer shows three dots "..." or another symbol, it shows that it is working. The three points "..." indicate that the computer is executing a function (e.g. saving).

Further importance of three points

In football, a victory is rated with three points. (The three-point rule.)

The sign for the blind contains three black dots on a yellow background. They are not Braille, but were simply introduced in 1927 as a conspicuous sign so that other blind people could immediately recognize them.

"Three Points" is the name of the fifth episode of the sixth season of The Mentalist.

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