What does it mean when someone says, “dap me up”? This article covers the meaning and origins of the phrase and examples of correct and incorrect usage.
The idiom “Dap me up” is an informal greeting used between friends or acquaintances. The phrase is literally a request for someone to “give dap” to the speaker as a gesture of greeting or agreement.
“Giving dap” or “dapping” refers to the act of lightly bumping the fingers of a closed fist against those of another person. You may also hear this act referred to as a “fist bump.” The action of dapping can also include any variety of hand gestures similar to an informal handshake or high five.
So when someone says, “Dap me up,” they’re greeting the other person by simultaneously offering and requesting a dap, such as a fist bump, high five, or informal handshake. In addition to a greeting, the idiom can also solicit agreement or solidarity.
When approaching a friend or acquaintance and attempting to give them a fist bump, high five, or another informal handshake, you might say, “dap me up.” In this context, it’s typically only said aloud if the second person is unaware that they are being offered a dap.
If the phrase is said aloud, rather than through a nonverbal gesture such as extending a hand or fist, it’s typically done as a sign of agreement or solidarity. For example, when one friend says something profound or relatable, another might reach out for a dap, saying, “dap me up.”
Dapping and the phrase “dap me up” are believed to have originated among Black American soldiers during the Vietnam War to signify solidarity.
Some linguistics experts believe that the word “dap” may stand for “dignity and pride.” However, others argue that this is likely a “backronym,” an acronym that evolved to match the phrase rather than the reverse.
It’s more likely that speakers initially used the word “dap” for its similarity to the word “tap.” Regardless, the original use of the word and idiom are uncertain.
Similar Phrases and Synonyms
The idiom “dap me up” is similar to other phrases that verbally invite a nonverbal greeting. Examples include:
- Give me dap
- Give me five
- High five
- Give me some skin
There are no common phrases used to convey the opposite message to “dap me up.” However, to nonverbally refuse a dap may be referred to as “leaving someone hanging.”
Knowingly refusing to accept a dap may be viewed as a sign of disrespect. Returning a dap without enthusiasm, such as with minimal hand contact, is also considered rude.
The phrase “dab me up” has recently started being used interchangeably with “dap me up,” intending to mean the same thing – a request or offer of a dap. Replacing “dap” with “dab” alters the meaning slightly, as a dab refers to a different type of nonverbal greeting.
The term “dabbing” refers to a gesture that involves raising one elbow and bowing your head into the extended elbow. This form of informal nonverbal greeting became popular more recently, and the original phrase, “dap me up,” predates the practice of dabbing.
Neither idiom is technically incorrect. The two phrases simply refer to different actions.