"on the D.L."
positive_pcr at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon May 6 02:59:28 UTC 2002
The expression "on the down low" today--in some circles--has an additional
connotation of describing an African-American male who has sex with other
men on the side but who would not necessarily describe himself as
homosexual. "Keeping it on the down low..." "DL Brotha" Numerous references
in print and on the net. I'd be interested in knowing when and where this
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: American Dialect Society
> > [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU]On Behalf
> > Of Mark A Mandel
> > Sent: Sunday, May 05, 2002 6:07 PM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > Subject: "on the D.L."
> > This is probably in the usual slang references, none of which
> > I have on
> > hand, but in case not...
> > I am listening to a jazz program on WGBH radio -- I think it's "Jazz
> > from Studio Four" with Steve Schwartz -- and just now, about
> > 8:50 pm, in
> > reading the names of the selections he had just played, he mentioned
> > that a listener had called in an explanation of this term. Apparently
> > the album was called _Blues on the D.L._, and in introducing it he had
> > said he didn't know what "on the D.L." meant.
> > A listener named ['vi:d@] called in and said that it is
> > African-American
> > prison slang, short for "down low" meaning 'hush-hush': if you tell
> > someone something "on the D.L.", it is to be kept quiet. Exactly
> > equivalent, then, to the obsolete(?) "on the Q.T.", which I
> > have always
> > supposed came from the first and last letters of "quiet".
> > -- Mark A. Mandel
> > Linguist at Large
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