or DM

Digital Technology.
Save This Word!

noun plural dms, dm's.
a direct message sent to one or more users of a social media service or private messaging service, usually when the accounts involved have an established relationship, as when the recipient is linked to, friends with, or following the sender on a social media platform: He sent me a scary and abusive dm, so I reported the message and blocked his account.
verb (used with object) dm'd or dmed, dm'ing, or dming.
to send a direct message to (another user of such a service).
There's an ocean of difference between the way people speak English in the US vs. the UK. Are your language skills up to the task of telling the difference? Let's find out!
Question 1 of 7
True or false? British English and American English are only different when it comes to slang words.
Compare pm.

Origin of dm

First recorded in 2005–10; d(irect) m(essage)

Words nearby dm

Other definitions for dm (2 of 4)


decimeter; decimeters.

Other definitions for dm (3 of 4)

Other definitions for dm (4 of 4)


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What else does DM mean?

DM stands for direct message, or a private message with a person on social media, especially Twitter. For you role players, DM can also stand for the Dungeon Master in a game of Dungeons & Dragons.

How is DM pronounced?


Where does DM come from?

DM for Dungeon Master emerges after the release of the roleplaying game Dungeon & Dragons in the 1970s. DMs organize and referee the game, including guiding the narrative for all the character players.

DM for direct message takes off after Twitter released the service in 2018. DMs allow two users or a group of users to send messages to each other that only they can see, whereas normal posts are public unless otherwise restricted. Often, users have to mutually follow each other to send and receive DMs. Right after the launch of the feature, DM was already being used as a verb (e.g., DM me when you can).

How is DM used in real life?

DM is widely used by Dungeons & Dragons players everywhere. Some players view DMs with trepidation, as they can control the game—potentially to their downfall. This has led to the expression beware the smiling DM, who might have some mischievous trick up their sleeve.

While closely associated with Twitter, DM can be used of other private-messaging services on social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook.

Individuals may DM one another for a variety of reasons (e.g., to get contact info for an interview or resolve an issue with a company). However, DMs have a creepier reputation in popular culture. Sliding into the DMs is an expression for when a person contacts someone privately, often men seeking sexual encounters with women.

Note that DM can also stand for direct mail or direct mailer, used by marketers and campaigners.

More examples of DM:

“Kevin Durant defends decision to join Warriors in DM exchange with fan”
Phillip Barnett, USA Today (headline), September 2018


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use dm in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for dm (1 of 3)


symbol for

British Dictionary definitions for dm (2 of 3)


the internet domain name for

British Dictionary definitions for dm (3 of 3)


abbreviation for
(in Canada) deputy minister
(the former) Deutschmark
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012