A mere few decades ago, dating was all about being set up or meeting ‘the one’ by glancing at someone special across the room.
And even though the term did not exist back then, being ghosted meant that you spent your days sitting at home, waiting for your landline phone to ring—to no avail. Sure, that must have been tough and gut wrenching, but dating seemed a lot simpler twenty-some years ago, didn’t it?
Today, we’re in our digital prime. An era filled with copious amounts of dating terms, acronyms, and slang. So much so, in fact, that it’s hard to keep up.
Fear not! We’re going to give you the full A-Z complete glossary of dating terms, acronyms, and slang, so you don’t have to scratch your head the next time you see an unknown word being thrown around.
Not just that, but you’ll probably find that you’ve experienced one or a few of these dating trends without actually knowing that there was a word for it. Let’s get started!
The term ‘adulting’ is not very new, but when we talk of “anti-adulting” in dating, we mean when a singleton embraces their single status. They’re ready to let their wild side dominate, be the life and soul of the party, and do whatever they want, whether it’s choosing to date or actively choosing not to date.
No, we’re not talking about bench pressing at the gym, but the term ‘benching’ does have a connection to sports. You know in some games, such as baseball, players get “benched” and put on the sidelines because they’re not necessarily the best player, or they’re not playing a good game? This is similar to benching in dating. It’s when one person fancies another, but they’re not really ready to make any drastic commitments, basically leaving them as an option.
Like a trail of flirtatiousness but with no real intention to follow through, this is ‘breadcrumbing’ in a nutshell. Someone who wants to keep another around but isn't interested in any long term relationships might breadcrumb their partner as a means to make them believe there’s interest or a possible future there.
If you hate playing games in a relationship, and want your dating life to be as simple and effortless as possible, then you’re the type who engages in ‘breezing’. Breezing means that you know what you want and are ready to go for it by being direct and honest. When you pick up on bad energy or negativity, you know it’s time to move on.
Bae is a term of endearment, based on the word ‘babe’, and is used in the context of dating. It’s been a popular dating term for at least one decade already, but is still popular today nonetheless. Another spin-off term from the word ‘bae’ is ‘baecationing,’ which is when you go on a vacation with someone you’ve just recently started dating.
Big Dick Energy
When someone has ‘big dick energy’ it actually has very little to do with the size of their penis and more so about their personality. This kind of person usually has a positive energy about them. They’re confident without being arrogant or cocky, and have an attitude that’s attractive and desirable.
When two penis owners form a very close non-sexual friendship with each other, it’s called a ‘bromance’ (a mash up of ‘brother’ and ‘romance’). Usually, these two friends would prefer to hang out with each other more so than their partners or significant others, and their bromance is filled with affection and bonding.
Coronavirus plus honesty equals coronesty. In short, due to the pandemic, many people feel as though they’ve lost a lot of precious dating opportunities in their life. And because of that, they simply do not have the time to beat around the bush. Instead, they’re open, honest, and straight to the point, skipping the niceties and the chit-chat.
Catfishing has become one of the most popular dating terms, especially due to MTV’s “Catfish”. Catfishing is when one person creates a false identity in order to lure in romantic partners. One may catfish another for a number of reasons, such as to obtain money, to curb loneliness, or to simply feel wanted and adored.
Cuffing season takes place in winter, and is when people couple up so that they have a cuddle buddy during the cold weather. One could also cuff another in hopes of having someone to take to Christmas and New Year functions. But cuffing season definitely has an expiration date, and people who cuff do so with full intention of breaking up with their partner when spring arrives and the sun starts to shine once again.
A date plus an interview equals a daterview. This is a kind of date that follows a similar structure to a job interview. Needless to say, it focuses on questions and answers. The trick to being more successful in daterviews is to follow up on questions you’ve asked your date in such a way that it shows similarities to your life. For example, ask them about their favourite hobbies, then identify a hobby of yours that’s similar and mention it.
The pandemic has not only changed how we live our lives in general, but also the way in which we date. Darwining is when an individual won’t date someone who doesn’t believe in science. In other words, they won’t consider going out with them because they refuse to get vaccinated.
Sliding into Your DM
‘DM’ stands for ‘direct message’. When someone “slides into your DM’s” it means that they’re messaging you privately on a social media platform in a flirty, bold, and confident way. It could be a stranger or someone you know, but will almost always have a hint of romantic or erotic energy. Sometimes, you could be talking to someone on a public profile or forum, after which they may “slide into your DM’s” to continue talking in a more discrete and playful manner.
DTR stands for “define the relationship”. It’s when two people have a conversation about whether they’re officially dating or not. To “DTR” is to give one or both partners clarity about where they stand in the relationship, and possibly their future.
If you’ve got “a type”, but decide to go for someone who is not your usual type, then you’re exploridating. It’s basically widening your dating pool and changing things up a bit to see what could possibly arise.
You may have seen this happen in a film or TV show, in real life, or you could even be guilty of it yourself. When some is eclipsing, it means that they’re changing parts of themselves in order to impress their crush. It could be in their physical appearance, their interests, personal beliefs, or the way that they act and behave.
Skipping the slow and sensual adventure, fast dating couples strive to tick all those “big life event” boxes early on in their relationship. For example, they may discuss future plans in the beginning stages of dating, or they may invite their new partner to be their date to a wedding.
Like cuffing, freckling is the exact same thing except in reverse. Those who engage in freckling will seek a summer romance without any intention of turning this whirlwind affair into something serious when the summer ends.
The term ‘fauci-ing’ was inspired by Dr Anthony Fauci, who has become a household name during the COVID pandemic. This dating term is used when a person refuses to date someone who doesn’t take the pandemic seriously.
To be “Facebook official” means that two people are officially dating. It’s when they link their Facebook profiles, revealing that they’re in a relationship with one another, which is often public for the world to see.
Unfortunately, too many of us have been ghosted (and a lot of people have ‘ghosted’). Ghosting is when someone cuts off all communication with the person they’re dating. There are no warning signs, explanations, or common decency to talk to the person they’re no longer interested in because it’s easier to simply end all sources of communication. A “friendlier” version of ghosting is called ‘caspering’ (another word for ‘’slow fade’), and a more extreme version of ghosting is called ‘cloaking’, which is when the ghoster also blocks their “partner” on all social media platforms and dating apps.
If you’re a fan of The Queen’s Gambit, you can now connect the dots. Yes, indeed, the term ‘gambiting’ comes from this popular Netflix series. It is when someone is strategic and calculated in a relationship, almost like playing a game in order to get exactly what they want.
Just like the film, Groundhog Day, groundhogging is when someone tends to go for the same kind of person when seeking a romantic or intimate relationship. And despite having bad experiences with “their type” in the past, they expect their new partnership to be different. Usually, this means feeling underwhelmed and constantly going through the same issues with every partner.
Gaslighting is a covert form of emotional abuse that can make one question their beliefs and perception of reality. The one who is being gaslighted may feel as though they’re losing their sanity, and be unsure about their own perceptions of the world. Gaslighting is a kind of manipulation that can lower one’s self-esteem and self-confidence, and often leaves them dependent on the person who is gaslighting them.
Here & Now-ers
For those who identify as “here & now-ers”, the past is the past, and the future is not something to worry about. Here & now-ers are people who live in the moment and are not phased about societal pressures and expectations. Adversely, they’re all about listening to how they feel in the moment, and taking cues from messages that the universe sends them. They’re more free-spirited individuals.
Hey-ters (pronounced ‘haters’) are people who ignore messages that simply say “hey”. For those who have spent even just one day on any online dating platform will know that when they have a new match, almost all of the first messages from said-match will be one-worded… aka “hey”.
Have you ever been ghosted and then noticed that the one who ghosted you continues to check you out on social media? For example, they’d watch your Instagram stories or “like” your posts? This is called “haunting”. It’s as if they’re lurking in the background, haunting and taunting you.
Shyness and awkward butterflies are definitely not a thing when it comes to hardballers. These individuals know exactly what they want in dating and aren’t afraid to go after it. They’re not the type to waste time, and can move on romantically at the drop of a hat. In other words, when they see red flags, they’ll be gone in a heartbeat without even blinking an eye.
When someone ices out the person they’re dating, it means that they’re slowly coming up with excuses not to see them anymore. At the same time, they’re happy to know that you’re always around should they decide to want to see you again. An example would be “My friend is in town for the next couple of weeks, but let’s hang out when they’re gone?”
When someone gets “jilted” it means that their partner has suddenly ended things or rejected them in a cold, heartless, and upsetting manner. It will leave the one who has been jilted to feel disregarded, abandoned, and undesirable.
This is the less-harmful version of catfishing, and is when someone lies on their dating profile. For example, their photos may be edited, or their personal information could be slightly fabricated. There’s definitely some ‘bending-of-the-truth’ going on somewhere when it comes to kittenfishing.
Love bombing is a kind of emotional manipulation where someone “bombs” you with extreme, over-the-top, and intense amounts of affection, flattery, gifts, and praise early in a relationship. Oftentimes, those who “love bomb” are narcissists who use this technique to win people over and gain control.
Lockering is when someone gives you the cold shoulder in dating, but when confronted about it, uses the excuse that they were “studying”. This dating term is more so used in the context of college-going students.
LMIRL is a dating acronym that stands for “let’s meet in real life.” This is a popular term as many couples tend to initially meet online first nowadays. In this way, if they’re getting along well, one may propose “LMIRL”.
Micro-cheating is cheating, and is emotional in nature. This kind of cheating can be seen as small and insignificant things that a person does while not being explicitly unfaithful.
It’s A Match!
Made famous by the dating app Tinder, when two people have shown interest in one another, a sign will appear indicating that “It’s a Match!”. In other words, you are able to send them private messages because there is mutual interest.
No Strings Attached
You may know this dating term because of the film of the same name. No strings attached means that two people are in a relationship that doesn’t have any specific conditions or restrictions for emotional or physical support. Usually, no strings attached refers to a couple that has a physical relationship without any of the added emotional elements that a serious relationship brings.
Orbiting is similar to haunting, but instead of the ghost peeking at your social media accounts, it’s an ex partner who is watching your online activity.
Basically, if you want to keep your current date or partner hidden from your friends and family, you’d ‘pocket’ them. Examples of pocketing include not inviting someone out to social gatherings, avoiding the chance for them to meet your friends, refraining from being “official” in-person or on social media, and/or avoiding being seen together.
Pie hunting is when someone actively looks to date someone who is “easy-going” or “low-maintenance”. Usually these individuals seek out vulnerable partners who have a poor dating history, such divorcees.
Queer is an umbrella term used for people who are not heterosexual and/or those who are not cisgender (when one’s identity and gender expression does not corelate to the sex they were assigned at birth).
Instead of reincarnating, it’s reincar-dating! This play-on-words suggests that someone reincarnates themselves in the realm of dating. They could take on new personas, new looks, new personality traits, both internally and externally, in hopes of finding what they want in the dating pool.
You know there’s the notion that if you see one cockroach, there are always more hidden? ‘Roaching’ works on the same principle and means that the person you’re dating has multiple partners or lovers in secret (aka partners you don’t know about).
Instead of ending things amicably or even ghosting another, a slow fade is when one or both partners allow communication to slowly fade, leading to an eventual dead end. For example, perhaps two people started out calling or texting every day, but over time these calls and messages became far and inbetween. Then, eventually, the communication ended completely.
When two people send and receive sexually explicit messages and photos via their mobile phones, this is called “sexting”. It could contain dirty talk and/or nude photographs in order to induce arousal for both partners.
Almost the opposite of DTR (defining the relationship), a situationship is when two people are in an emotional and/or physical relationship that’s informal. There has been no conversation about making things official or putting any labels on their relationship.
A 2022 dating term, time travel refers to a fast-forward romance. It’s when two people speed up everything, such as getting engaged, married, and having children, because they’ve either been pressured by society and/or they feel as though they’ve lost time due to the pandemic.
Whether it’s a friendly, romantic or sexual relationship, textationship is when the primary mode of communication is over text. There is a lack of face-to-face or voice interactions, which basically means that the entire relationship exists almost solely through text.
When someone links their Instagram account to their Tinder account, they’re welcoming users to “slide into their DM’s” on Instagram, even if the pair did not match on Tinder. Tinder only allows two people to chat if both of them “swipe right” on one another, while Instagram allows for free communication, making it easier for people to DM someone they find attractive on Tinder, on Instagram.
Vulturing is when a person swoops in on another when they get an indication or gut feeling that that person’s current relationship is going to end. They're simply circling their prey in hopes of sleeping with or dating them. Vulturing is extremely toxic as it implies taking advantage of someone when they’re vulnerable.
Just like the word ‘wanderlust’ we can assume that ‘wander’ is involved with travel. And what does travelling to new and exciting places bring? Feelings of love, lust, and a rush of happy hormones. Similar to that of dating someone new, perhaps? Indeed! Wanderlove is when you travel with a new romantic partner and together, you both enjoy the ride of a romantic journey.
Instead of someone lying about their appearance, someone who goes wokefishing will lie about their beliefs. The term was created using the word ‘woke’ (when one appears more progressive and socially aware than they really are). In other words, someone may say they’re left-wing to seem “woke” but they’re actually right-wing.
Are you attracted to people based on their appearance? Whiteclawing is when someone dates another simply because they’re eye candy. For the one who whiteclaws, it doesn’t matter if their partner is intelligent or not, or even basic, because being extremely attractive is all that counts.
This term is when a person complains to potential partners about how many other matches they have. It could also include boasting about how they’re always approached at bars, how attractive other people find them, and how successful their dating life is.
Whether it’s an ex or someone who’s ghosted you, ‘zombieing’ is when they suddenly appear in your life again after radio silence. Usually, the zombie will act as though nothing happened, making it an even spookier dating trend to watch out for. Submarining is a different kind of zombieing, but is when the person who comes back ‘from the dead’ gives you all sorts of excuses for their disappearance. And then there is marleying, which is when the ex or ghost returns around the holiday season.
And so, do you recognise any of these dating terms? Have you been a victim of, or participated in, any of them? While some of these dating terms have positive connotations, others can be toxic and very negative. Be sure to stay mindful whilst on your dating journey to avoid some of these awful dating terms and trends.