What Does DL Mean?

The abbreviation DL is used with the meanings "Down Low" and "Download." Here is a little more information about each of these definitions of DL.

Down Low

DL is widely used with the meaning "Down Low" to refer to something conducted in secret or discreetly. DL often (but not always) implies that such behavior or actions involve a degree of deception or illegality.

The phrase "Down Low" can refer to any action or behavior that can be described as secretive or deceptive. However, especially in the African-American community, it is often used to refer to a man that is a closet homosexual or secret bisexual.


DL is also used to mean "Download," which usually refers to the copying of data from one location or device (e.g., a server, PC, cellphone, tablet or website) to another. However, "Download" is also a slang term, widely used (typically by young men and boys) to refer to the act of going to the toilet to defecate.

Image for DL

When I write DL, I mean this: meaning of DL DL also means "Down Low."

Summary of Key Points

First Definition for DL

"Down Low" is the most common definition for DL on Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.
Definition:Down Low
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:
Adults and Teenagers

Second Definition for DL

"Download" is another common definition for DL.
2: Quite easy to guess
Typical Users:
Adults and Teenagers


Examples of DL in Sentences

Here are examples of DL being used in conversations:
  • Gill: I saw Sue with Chris last night.
  • Lynn: They've been dating for a couple of weeks, but they want to keep it on the DL.

  • (Here DL means "Down Low" and implies discretion.)
  • Jo: Tom's so cute. Is he single?
  • Fran: Never seen him with a girl. I think he's into the bros on the DL.

  • (Here DL means "Down Low" and implies that Tom is a closet homosexual.)
  • Ollie: Where's Ken?
  • Matt: He's gone to the can for a DL.

  • (Here DL means "Download," but it has nothing to do with file transfers.)

An Academic Look at DL

Whether used with the meaning "Down Low" or "Download," DL is classified as an initialism abbreviation, as it is pronounced using its individual letters (i.e., "Dee Ell"). Initialisms are different to acronyms, which are spoken like words.

When used with the meaning "To defecate," download is a slang word. Slang refers to words, phrases and uses of language that are regarded as very informal and which are often restricted to a special context or a particular group of users.

What Did We Say before Texting and Social Media?

Before the digital era, we might have said "Down Low" instead of using the abbreviation DL.

Example of DL Used in a Text


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