Where does dwu come from?
In the 2000s, people began to shorten don’t wait up to DWU in texts and social media. DWU is first listed as an acronym for don’t wait up in a 2007 Urban Dictionary entry.
The exact phrase don’t wait up (as an instruction for someone not to delay sleep until another person arrives home) appears in stories in both The London Magazine and Ambition: A Journal of Inspiration in 1913. The verb phrase wait up appears as early as 1801 in a record of the proceedings of the British House of Lords. A man is described as instructing his servants “not to wait up for him,” because he “had a key to let himself in by.”
Don’t Wait Up was also used as the title of a British sitcom from 1983–1990. It has since been the title of at least three different songs: one by Colin Hay in 2001, one by the Twang in 2007, and one by Robert DeLong in 2015. And then, in 2015, the Dutch R&B singer Aster Fekre also released a song titled “DWU (Don’t Wait Up).”
Who uses dwu?
Don’t wait up is common in informal speech and writing, while the acronym DWU is common in digital communication. Both phrases are often used as a playful alert that the person is going to be out late partying.
It’s not to be confused with another internet slang initialism: dwu for “dat’s what’s up.”
DWU iM RiDiN GOTTA H3LL OF A LONG WAY
@RatedM_ForMolly, December 2009
Away... Searching for sanity... bbl, dwu, if you see me point me toward myself... l8r cats…
@awd, October 2007
According to Avery, her mom texted her about meeting the ball players after dropping her off, writing ‘I made some new friends. Don't wait up!
Chelsea Cunningham, KVUE, June 2017