Historically the village was commonly known as Dinsdale. "Low" was added to distinguish the village from the neighbouring village of Over Dinsdale, on the opposite bank of the River Tees in North Yorkshire. The toponym was recorded in Domesday Book as Dignesale and Dirneshale, and recorded in 1088 as Detnisale. The name is Old English and means either "nook of land belonging to a man named Dyttin" or "nook of land belonging to Deighton". Deighton was in the same wapentake (Allerton) as Over Dinsdale.
- History, Topography and Directory of Durham, Whellan (1894) on Genuki
- Watts, Victor, ed. (2010), "Dinsdale", The Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names, Cambridge University Press
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