What Does DW Stand For?

DW is a (usually affectionate) internet slang term

It doesn't stand for Doctor Who or distilled water. It is one of the many internet shorthand terms that first appeared in forums but then spread to instant messages, email, text messages, social media sites and—in some cases—to speech. So what does DW mean?

DW means:

Dear Wife

DW is a term of written digital affection for "dear wife" or "darling wife."

How DW Is Used

Couple in bed
Cultura RM Exclusive / Sofie Delauw / Getty Images

DW is used by posters on the internet referring to their spouses or significant others. The "dear" is sometimes interpreted as sarcastic, in which case you'd need to know the sender's situation to distinguish between the meanings unless it is obvious in the usage.

Examples of Ermahgerd in Use

Example 1

Friend #1: I need to go pick up DW from work.

Friend #2: OK, tell her hi for me, ttyl!

In this example, the first person is ending a chat to pick up his wife. He uses DW in place of her name (without saying my), and it is clear that his friend knows her, as well.

Example 2

Husband: Thanks for sharing your cold with me, DW.

Wife: What's mine is yours, darling.

In this example, the couple seems to refer to one another as "dear wife" and "darling" in a playful, slightly sarcastic way.

Example 3

Friend 1: My EX "DW" is driving me crazy!

Friend 2: I warned you about that one, buddy.

In this example, two friends are talking about the first friend's former partner. The quotation marks imply that Friend 1 is using the term loosely.

Other Relationship Acronyms

Other family acronyms you may run across on the internet include:

Other common relationship acronyms on the internet are:  

When to Use Internet Acronyms

DW, like other internet acronyms, is appropriate for use in forums, social media sites, emails, personal texts and casual messages between family and friends. However, don't use internet acronyms in business communications. The recipient may not understand the meaning, and the usage of unfamiliar acronyms is considered unprofessional in business communications.

Some internet acronyms have crossed into our spoken language. You may hear a teen mention her BFF or a Mom refer to her daughter as her DD in a conversation. These internet acronyms and others have joined the ubiquitous LOL (laughing out loud) and OMG (oh my god) in our spoken language.