What Does TANSTAAFL Mean?

TANSTAAFL (There Ain't No Such Things As a Free Lunch) means it is impossible to get something for nothing (which is the core tenet of all economics). The term TANSTAAFL was popularized by economist Milton Friedman's 1975 book "There's no such thing as free lunch."

On social-media platforms, TANSTAAFL is most commonly used as a response to someone complaining about having to work hard for something they want.

Summary of Key Points

"There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch" is the most common definition for TANSTAAFL on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:There Ain't No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
3: Guessable
Typical Users:
Adults and Teenagers


When I write TANSTAAFL, I mean this:

meaning of TANSTAAFL
The image shows stroppy teenager Kevin (created by Harry Enfield) whining about not getting something for nothing.


Example of TANSTAAFL in a Sentence

Here is an example of TANSTAAFL being used in a sentence:
  • Tony: Cleaning cars is so boring, but it's only way I'll get my own one.
  • Jordan: TANSTAAFL, young Jedi.
  • Tony: Unfortunately, that's true!

An Academic Look at TANSTAAFL

TANSTAAFL is an acronym (i.e., an abbreviation spoken like a word). Acronyms differ from initialism abbreviations, which are pronounced using their individual letters.

Of note, TANSTAAFL is grammatically incorrect as it is a double negative (like "I ain't got no money"). The correct version of TANSTAAFL is TINSTAAFL (There Is No Such Things As a Free Lunch), which is also an acronym. Another popular version is the initialism TNSTAAFL (There's No Such Things As a Free Lunch).

The words "There ain't no such thing as…" are commonly used to offer advice, seemingly from the perspective of an uneducated person, suggesting that everybody (even the uneducated) knows the assertion is true.

Example of TANSTAAFL Used in a Text


See Also

TINSTAFL (there is no such thing as free lunch) TNSTAAFL (there's no such thing as a free lunch) FOA (freedom of action) BOGOF (buy one get one free) Using the currency symbols