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Dating Slang Terms: Your Ultimate Guide

A couple who use good dating slang terms to talk about their relationship.

It’s no secret that the dating scene has changed a lot in recent years, but that’s not the only thing that’s evolved. As the way we date changes so does the way we talk about dating. Things like going steady, blind date, and necking were once common phrases, but now they’ve been replaced by new dating slang terms such as cuffing, BAE, swipe, and slay.

To help you navigate the changing times (and understand just what it is your younger, single friends are talking about) we put together the ultimate guide to dating slang terms.

Catfishing (verb)
This is used to describe when someone lures you into a relationship via a fake online profile. It could be a guy posing as a girl, a girl posing as a girl, or your friends playing a cruel trick on you.

Netflix and Chill (verb phrase)
Coined in the era of streaming movies at home, at face value it’s an invitation to have a quiet night in while watching a movie. Really it’s another way to ask, “Do you want to come over and have sex?”

DTF (noun)
DTF means (and we’re just going to say it even thought it’s a big scandelous), “Down to fuck.” As you can imagine, it’s a less euphemistic way to ask for a hook up.

AF (adverb)
(Warning, another dirty word is coming your way.) AF means “As fuck”. Think of this as cranking up the description on someone. Is she tall or is she tall AF? Is he polite or polite AF?

Ghosting (verb)
This one’s been around fora few years. In the era of smartphones, texting, and online dating, it’s just as easy to start a conversation as it is to end it. Ghosting occurs when you’ve gone on a couple of dates with someone and they suddenly go radio silent without explanation.

For those really in the know, they also call this Swayze-ing. As in the actor Patrick Swayze (may he rest in peace) in the from the movie “Ghost.” Get it?

Zombie (noun)
Zombies are lifeless people that wander back into your life via a random text or message to hook up. When someone ghosts you, they should be out of your life. But sometimes he or she decide to come back as a zombie.

Backslide (verb)
When you get back together with your ex. Generally a negative term for a bad move since the relationship ended on a bad break up.

DTR (question)
Define the relationship. Asking for clarification on whether you’re seeing other people or what you see the relationship as. Sometimes phrased as, “What are we?”

Textual Relationship (noun phrase)
Smartphones make it easier to meet new people who would have never crossed your path. But it can also be a roadblock. When you start messaging someone and grow attached to them via texting or sending messages to each other you might be in a Textual Relationship, not a real one. Yes there’s flirting, cute emoticons, and perhaps some fun (and maybe naughty) photos. But you never meet up.

A synonym for this is textlationship.

BAE (noun)
No, not babe. BAE: Before All Else. Think of it as a fun way to say “my significant other.”

On the hook (noun)
Keeping someone on the hook is just like it sounds—you’re dropping enough hints to keep someone interested in you, even though you’re not interested in them.

Synonyms to this are leading on, bread crumbing, and benching.

Thirsty (adjective)
If someone is thirsty in the dating world, they’re parched for a relationship or sex. In a word: desperate. As in he’s thirsty for women or she’s thirsty for him.

Hang out (verb)
A euphemism for a “date that isn’t a date” that takes the pressure off asking someone out. It allows both people to gauge whether a date is worth it. As in asking your cute co-worker to hang out at a coffee shop.

Cuffing Season (noun)
While the calendar technically has four seasons, cuffing season is the unofficial fifth season. It’s somewhere between fall and winter, a period where some who are single seek out a relationship due to the colder weather and the lack of sunshine forcing them indoors.

Catch and Release (adjective)
The term for someone who dates for the thrill of the chase rather than seeking a relationship. This is someone who stops showing interest after you almost reach relationship status (or show that you’re thirsty for them).

Slay (verb)
The dictionary definition of slay is to kill something in a violent manner. The dating definition of slay is the act of getting a lot of dates and a lot of action. As in she slays a lot of guys or he slays all day. Generally someone who slays all day (and is not named Beyoncé) is a person that aims who just hook up without strings attached.

No strings attached. A relationship between two people that’s strictly about the physical. Sometimes, people who are afraid of commitment or don’t want to be in a relationship go the NSA route.

Friends with benefits. Same as a NSA relationship except you know each other, hang out and could occasionally go out to brunch the next morning.

LDR (noun)
Long distance relationship. Good luck.

Open Relationship (noun)
Where a couple in a relationship with each other agree that both can sleep with other people.

While these ways of talking about the dating world and relationships are new, they’ll no doubt fade with time and generations. Not everyone in the dating world uses abbreviations and odd euphemisms. But when they do, refer back to this and you’ll end up slaying it.

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