down low

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: downlow and down-low


Alternative forms[edit]


down low (uncountable)

  1. A state of secrecy.
    I'll tell you, but keep it on the down low.
  2. (sexuality) The state of being a man who secretly sleeps with people other than his partner.
  3. (African-American Vernacular, sexuality) The state of being a man who secretly sleeps with other men.
    • 2001 April 3, Linda Villarosa, “AIDS Education Is Aimed 'Down Low'”, in The New York times[1], page 5:
      I sleep with men, but I am not bisexual, and I am certainly not gay. I am not going to your clinics, I am not going to read your brochures, I am not going to get tested. I assure you that none of the brothers on the down low like me are paying the least bit of attention to anything you have to say.
  4. (African-American Vernacular, sexuality) A man who secretly sleeps with other men.
    • 2014, Susan Kuklin, Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, Humen: Candlewick Press, published 2015, →ISBN, →LCCN, Mariah: The Real Deal, page 90:
      I think it must be hard for trans men who like guys. Most gay guys don't like vaginas. [] The guys I'm interested in are down-lows, DLs.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In all senses except the last, always preceded by on the.


down low (comparative more down low, superlative most down low)

  1. (of a person) Undercover or lying about one's identity.
  2. (African-American Vernacular, of a man) Purporting to be heterosexual while engaged in sex with men.

Derived terms[edit]