What does 411 mean?


411 is a slang term that you might come across in texts or online conversations. It’s a way of asking for information or details, usually about a specific event, person, or topic. For instance, you might get a message from a pal saying, “What’s the 411 on your buddy Steve? Is he available?”

Where does this term 411 come from? Well, it all started with a phone number. Back in the days before the internet, in the United States, if you wanted to find out some information, like where a business was located or someone’s phone number, you’d call 411. This would connect you to an operator who could answer your questions.

Over time, this phone number became so widely recognized that it turned into a shorthand way of talking about information. Even though we don’t typically dial 411 to find things out anymore, the term is still used in the same way. You’ll often see or hear it when someone’s looking to get the scoop on something.

You might also see 411 being used to request updates or gossip. For example, after a long day, a friend might message you saying, “Just finished work. What’s the 411 on Sam and Alex?!”

Example for using ‘411’ in a conversation

Hey, I heard there’s a new movie coming out next week. Do you know anything about it?

Yeah, I’ve got the 411 on that. It’s a romantic comedy starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling. Looks really good!

Awesome! Thanks for the info. I’ll definitely check it out.

No problem! Let me know if you need the 411 on anything else.