What does DM mean?
Slide into...this definition. 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.
Examples of DM
Where does DM come from?
DM for Dungeon Master emerges after the release of the roleplaying game Dungeon & Dragons in the 1970s. DMs organizes and referees 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 allows two users or a group of them to send messages to each other 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.
Who uses DM?
DM is widely used by Dungeons & Dragons players everywhere. Some players view them with trepidation, as they can control the game—potentially to their downfall. This has lead to the expression beware the smiling DM, who might have some mischievous trick up their sleeve.
Dungeon Master: you are at your congressional bbq. a reporter approaches from the cro-
Gianforte: i punch him
DM: *smiling, shakes head* ok
— Eclipse Jared Rosen (@notquitefrodo) May 25, 2017
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.
When you slide into her DM then realize she knows your gf pic.twitter.com/laIU9xUIp8
— Bl@ize WhatThatBeardDo? (@Netoovic) December 4, 2018
Note that DM can stand for direct mail or direct mailer, used by marketers and campaigners.
This is not meant to be a formal definition of DM like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of DM that will help our users expand their word mastery.