What is DEX short for in Dungeons & Dragons?


In Dungeons & Dragons (DnD), DEX is short for Dexterity. Dungeon Masters (DMs) and players may use DEX in place of Dexterity when discussing an in-game action that references a character's Dexterity score or modifier.

Each DnD character possesses six basic abilities that describe that character's physical and mental capabilities. These are:

  • Strength (STR)
  • Dexterity (DEX)
  • Constitution (CON)
  • Intelligence (INT)
  • Wisdom (WIS)
  • Charisma (CHA)

Each ability has a numeric score and ability check modifier (such as +2 or -1) associated with it. Players reference these numbers when performing actions related to an ability.

For example, if a player attempts to pick a lock, their DM will ask them to make a Dexterity check to determine whether they are successful. The player then rolls a d20 and adds their DEX modifier to the result, hoping for a high total that reflects the lock giving way.

In forums, rulebooks, and virtual DnD-playing platforms, many players and DMs abbreviate Dexterity as DEX. So, in the example provided above, the DM might ask the player to make a DEX check, which is the same as a Dexterity check.


Okay, my character's DEX modifier is ... -2. Is that bad?
Yup, it's pretty bad. Roll your Dexterity check

Marty McFly, succeeding on a DEX check

Related Slang


Updated November 6, 2020

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This page explains what the abbreviation "DEX" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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