DWU – Meaning, Origin and Usage

You find yourself unexpectedly enjoying a Tinder date even though you told your roommate you were going to be home early.

To let them know how well things are going, you text them a simple message: “dwu”. You smile wryly and start picturing what else the night has in store.

This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


DWU is an acronym meaning “Don’t Wait Up”. If you are trying to tell someone to move on, go on, or not to worry or wait on you, DWU is the perfect acronym. It is a straightforward way to say that you likely going to be late or not make it at all.

It can also mean not to worry about something or someone.

This term became popular in the early 2000s and was used to shorten the phrase “don’t wait up” in their texts and on social media. It has since evolved to take on a broader definition to not wait on someone forever or allude that one is out hooking up or partying.

Example Usage

“Going out with a Heather, dwu.”

“Looking for my sanity and what I’m going to do for the rest of my life, dwu.”

“dwu – I’m going out tonight.”

“She’s dating someone else man, dwu.”

“They have an open bar here! Dwu!”

Origin DWU

“Wait up” is an idiom dating back to the late 1700s or early 1800s appearing in a record of the proceedings of the British House of Lords. It was used in reference of a man telling his servants “not to wait up for him,” because he “had a key to let himself in by.” Since, it has become a common phrase literally meaning not to go to bed at night because you are expecting someone to arrive. “Don’t wait up” instructs the message recipient to go ahead and move on with their plans as usual and not make special accommodations for the sender.

In addition to the phrase being used in common text exchanges, it is the title of several songs including one by Shakira (2021), by Robert DeLong (2015), by Twang (2007), and Colin Hay (2001). It is also the title of a British sitcom that aired between 1983 and 1990, and the title of American punk band Bane’s 2014 album.

Phrases Similar to DWU

  • Call it a night: Go home or go to bed
    • “It’s late. I’m going to call it a night.”
  • Catch some z’s: To sleep
    • “I’ve got to get up early – I’m going to go catch some z’s.”
  • Snooze: To sleep/take a nap
    • “You better snooze – I’ll be home late.”

Phrases Opposite to DWU

  • Hold on: To wait briefly
    • “Hold on! I’ll be there in a few.”
  • Hold up: Wait and repeat
    • “Hold up – say that again?”
  • Sit tight: To wait patiently in one place
    • “I’m going to need you to sit tight for a minute while I run inside.”

What is the Correct Saying?

  • DWU: Don’t wait up.

Ways People May Incorrectly Say DWU

People may use DWU as an acronym for “dat’s what’s up” and is dependent on context. Some ways that DWU is used incorrectly are:

  • Hey, DWU, I don’t have a key so you will have to open the door.
  • I am going to need your help when I arrive, so dwu.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase DWU

  • I think that I met someone that I like at the bar, so DWU for me.
  • It is going to be a long game, we are already into extra innings. Go on home and dwu for me.
  • Dwu, I think that I am going to stop by a few other stores on my way home.
  • I am pretty tired at the end of the day, I know you want to hang out, but dwu for me tonight okay?


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