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Online dating vocabulary

The first commercial dating services were launched in the mid-1990s, and since then virtual matchmaking has become one of the defining social activities of the modern age.

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Upwards of one in three relationships are likely to have been initiated on a dating website, while the industry itself is worth around $3 billion per annum in the USA alone. For such a massively popular social arena, it’s hardly surprising that an entire vocabulary of dating-related terms has entered the public lexicon. Nowadays, everything happens on the net, so online dating slang is a significant thing in modern life.

1) Words that came to our regular life from dating

Because so many are involved in seeking out compatible partners for a relationship, it’s no wonder a lot of the words used in dating have become fairly common knowledge.

Booty call

When dating started getting much more casual. This is an invitation, often issued with an alcohol-fulled late-night phone call, for someone to pop round with one thing in mind!

Cuffing

Although some people are keen to maintain their single status, the time will come when they crave company – usually when the nights are getting darker.

FBO

Single people who have connected in the real world can declare their newfound status via their social media status: Facebook Official.

X-Factor

A reference to the hit TV series that is all about uncovering individuals with a unique talent, in dating terms this relates to seeking out a prospective partner who possesses the most ideal, sought-after qualities.

YODO

Shorthand for ‘You Only Dump Once.’ If you’ve rejected a partner (or vice versa) only for the opportunity to enter into another relationship with them to arise, the best advice is don’t! There are probably very good reasons it didn’t work the first time around.

2) Words you should know to start using dating services

If you’re new to Internet dating, it can seem like navigating a minefield, with a whole new jargon requiring translation. Here’s a snapshot of what’s in store.

Breadcrumbing

Someone is leading you on by flirting, with no real intention of forming a relationship.

Ghosting

That charming single you were developing a real sense of chemistry with during your online chats suddenly ceases all contact.

Caspering

As above, except the person who is leading the other one on tries doing this in a friendly rather than sneaky way.

Submarining

This is when the person responsible for ghosting suddenly surfaces again but acts as if they’ve never really been away.

Haunting

Those ex-partners you thought were out of your life forever? Some of them have a nasty habit of lingering, still trying to keep in touch.

Catfishing

Site users set up fake profiles, usually to pretend to get to know someone romantically. Their real goal is persuading their target to reveal personal details, such as online banking passwords.

Kittenfishing

A less sinister version of a catfish. This person isn’t out to defraud, but they’re still presenting inaccurate details (lying about achievements, doctoring their profile image, and so on.)