DTB – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Sometimes you want to end a conversation but are just not sure how to go about it. For example, your friend keeps going on and on texting or instant messaging you, and you are tired of hearing your phone go off.

A nice short way to tell them it’s time to end you and the conversation needs to go is by texting them a simple DTB. This standard abbreviation will let your recipient know that you can’t test them anymore, and the conversation is over. It can also let them know that you can’t receive texts anymore for whatever the circumstance is.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


DTB is a short abbreviation for “Don’t Text Back.” This is almost always used in the texting community or when communicating with someone on a texting app, whether on an iPhone, Android, or another device with texting features.

While the phrase may sound rude, it can actually be a gentle way of saying to someone that you can’t text anymore and that you need to go.

DTB can be a great way to let a friend know that you may get in trouble if you are caught texting. It can also help serve as a warning if someone hears your phone go off.

If you are at the office and your boss is very strict about people not using their phones during work hours, sending a quick message with a DTB at the end allows you to tell someone whatever it is you need to say to them and make sure they don’t give you a response that could get you caught!

Or maybe it is late at night, and you are starting to fall asleep when you suddenly remember you need to tell someone something important. Sending that critical message with DTB in it will allow you to fall back asleep and not get dragged into a conversation when you don't intend to.

Example Usage

“Someone is coming, DTB”

“I am a bit busy, dtb”

“My boss is in front of me, dtb”

“I am watching a movie, dtb”


This term came around back in the early 2000s. When cell phones became more affordable and common to own, texting was a bit of a luxury aspect. In addition, many cell phone services charge fees for text messages, whether during certain hours or for a certain number of letters and words used in the text. Using DTB allowed someone to make sure they weren’t going to be charged extra for texting when they only needed to send one message.

Phrases Similar to DTB

  • TTYL which means “Talk To You Later”
  • CYT which means “See Ya Tomorrow”
  • TTYS which means “Talk To You Soon”
  • BRB which means “Be Right Back”

Phrases Opposite to DTB

  • HMU which means “Hit Me Up”
  • WYD which means “What You Doin”
  • LMK which means “Let Me Know”

What is The Correct Saying?

  • Don’t text me back – DTB.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say DTB

People may misinterpret this abbreviation if it is not used correctly. For example, while DTB usually means, Don’t Text Back, it may also represent Don’t Trust Boys. So if you text someone during a date that you are on, “This guy is such a liar, DTB,” they may actually respond to you and start a conversation you didn’t intend to have.

It may also be taken in the wrong way. Therefore, it is important that when using this abbreviation, you make sure your tone is understood from the beginning. For example, if you text someone, “Can’t talk right now, DTB!” They may think you don’t want to talk to them when you are just busy and unable to communicate at the moment.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase DTB

  • Hey, just wanted to let you know the meeting is at 7 am, DTB
  • Can’t talk right now, at work, DTB
  • DTB, but I think your boyfriend is here.
  • I’ll let you know later, DTB.

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