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down-low Line breaks: down-low

Entry from British & World English dictionary

Definition of down-low in English:


(in phrase on the down-low) US informal
1On the quiet; in secret: he kept his status as a Hell’s Angel on the down-low
More example sentences
  • Occasionally, he punctuates the flow with the more upbeat rhythms of tracks like ‘Inside’ or ‘Brotha Man,’ but mainly he keeps everything on the down-low, using an interesting mix of pop-rock and R&B.
  • The note-passing had to be kept on the down-low as not to alert the plentiful U.S. Border Patrol, who are ordered every February 14 to dissuade the passing of notes and gifts due to suspicions of drug trafficking.
  • A piece of news had reached the apex of its life, and I felt somewhat responsible for seeing it through from a tip on the down-low, to an op-ed piece above the fold.
1.1(Of a man) concealing his homosexual tendencies.
Example sentences
  • Black men on the down-low differ from white gays and other black homosexuals who are in the closet by not just hiding their sexual orientation, but also denying it.
  • Or perhaps they are, secretly, on the down-low.


1990s: originally in African-American usage.

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