Are They Asking Me Out: Dating Slang

Tori Tornreviewed byKateryna Protsenko / more about Editorial Process12 min
Created: Nov 4, 2022Last updated: Dec 4, 2023
Dating Slang

Learning English can be a challenging process on its own. But learning dating vocabulary seems like a whole new language. 

In 2022, searching for love online, millennials and GenZ managed to create dozens of slang words for dating. Living in the digital era means that social media and dating apps dictate a new lexicon that is changing all the time tremendously. 

Dating has always been a hot topic for discussion. So, it's in your best interests to keep up with dating slang in order not to feel like a granny during the conversation. To help you out, we sacrificed our sanity to dig deeper into dating slang. We won't claim ourselves to be experts in dating terms, but we made to create a fire list with dating slang for you. Be ready to detect and be able to define any sus behavior towards you after reading this text!

What's Going On: Lifesaving Dating Slang 

Some dating slang is much more essential and relatable in more situations than other. We won't call it basic, but you need to know some words in dating culture to survive in the sea of varous offers. They will help you to pass as one of the pack safely, to show your belonging to the dating world, and, most importantly, to know how to act. So hold onto them like it's your life jacket. 

Netflix and Chill

When someone asks you for Netflix&chill, it means you may or may not watch a movie that day. Initially, it marked a chill date at home with a film that ended up sleeping together. So at first, it was a pretty innocent invitation. But it came in handy over the years, so now people know what will happen if they are invited for Netflix&chill. For the sake of truth, nobody even hides their intentions anymore; it is perceived as a direct offer. 


This dating term refers to a popular tv series Fleabag. The main character is a woman who falls in love with the catholic priest and actively tries to make their relationship work. But, of course, nothing can happen between a man who made a promise to God to serve the church and its people. So, "fleabagging" means constantly dating people who are wrong for you.  


In fairytales, when someone wants to find their way back to a particular place, they leave breadcrumbs. Being in a committed relationship or even staying on the market, people love to keep someone else close as an option. They text flirtatiously, like your posts on social media, and send fire emojis once in a while, but they won't move forward with asking you out. They also leave you breadcrumbs to stay in touch. That's why such a practice got its name — something from a fairytale but with no happily ever after. 

Dear John

Congratulations, you are already familiar with Dear John if you've ever dumped your ex via a text message or a letter. Because Dear John is a breakup text sent to someone you are dating. The exact origins of this slang term are unknown. But, more likely, it refers to the novel "Can You Forgive Her?" by Anthony Trollope, where the character Alice Vavasor wrote a breakup letter to her lover John Grey. Americans started to use Dear John/Jane after World War II. Back then, there were lots of American soldiers named John since it was a popular name. Their wives and girlfriends couldn't handle separation and broke up with their loved ones over the letter, starting with "Dear John." 

Getting Pinned

Back in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s in Greece, there was the practice of pinning when a man gave his fraternity pin to a woman. Such a gesture symbolized his serious commitment and plans to get married. Nowadays, getting pinned means officially becoming a couple or taking the relationship to another level. 

What's Up With Apps: The List Of Hot Dating Phrases

Since the very beginning of their launch, dating apps have drastically changed the relationships game. Today, people go on Tinder, Bumble, Taimi, and Hinge to seek any connection. When some of your potential matches can define what they are looking for in their bios, with some, you have to start a conversation to understand their intentions. Anyways, to not seem uneducated in dating vocabulary and not miss your match, you'd better remember the following words and phrases. 

To slide into someone's DMs

Sliding into someone's DMs has become a trendy way of approaching new people for the past decade. It means directly messaging a person on Instagram to initiate a romantic conversation. The opening line can be a simple "Hi beauty! What's up?" or a creative pick-up line to grab someone's attention and not leave you on read. Of course, the person sliding into your DM's shouldn't necessarily be following you. For instance, a guy (because usually, guys slide into DMs) can like some of your photos to show his presence on your page and then make his move. What a classy way to introduce yourself! 

Hey and Pray

Sending a single "Hi" is one of the most annoying ways to start a conversation on a dating app. People send it to a bunch of their matches and pray that another person will take the initiative and do the job. But let's be honest, we all have been guilty for hey&pray once in a while. 

Dial Toning

Dial toning is similar to ghosting but happens much earlier - even before relationships start. So it is when you give your match from a dating app your phone number but, for any reason, decide to ignore them. Not a nice move, but it can happen. 

Cuffing season

Cuffing season is a fascinating phenomenon in dating culture. It starts in October and finishes in March. Cuffing season is when people prepare for a cold winter by getting involved in relationships. Even if singles usually would not be interested in serious, committed relationships, they settle down during a colder time of the year. "Cuffers" believe that spending cold months at home would be much "warmer" with someone by their side. And who can blame them when winter is coming?!

White Clawing

This dating term was named after the famous spiked seltzer brand whose packaging looks pretty impressive but tastes too basic and dull. In the same way, you can describe a guy or a girl, right? That is why white clawing means dating someone who looks absolutely stunning but can't offer anything more. No personality, no nothing; it's just sad.  

Catch And Release

Have you ever tried fishing for fun with no intention of keeping the fish to eat later? The same thing happens in the dating world all the time, and it is called "catch and release." This dating slang means flirting with someone or going out with someone and abandoning them as soon as they reciprocate. 


Cookie-Jarring means keeping someone as your backup option when in a serious relationship with your partner. You may like the other person but not enough to dump your girlfriend or boyfriend, so keep them around just in case. Who would throw away their fine pair of sneakers even if they own Jordans now?

Dating Abbreviations And How To Decode Them

Talking about dating apps and dating slang, we must remember popular abbreviations. People always use them, so you need to know what they mean. Unfortunately, googling for an explanation every time is not an option if you are working on your fluency. So, here is the decoding of some main dating abbreviations. 

ONS – one night stand

DTF – down to *uck

FWB – friends with benefits

LMIRL – let's meet in real life

DTR – define the relationship

LDR – long-distance relationship

BAE – before anyone else

HAK – hugs and kisses

WYWH – wish you were here

NSA – no strings attached

143 – I love you


How To Talk About Your Drama: Slang Words For Dating

We don't know when exactly dating life got so complicated, but it seems that everybody is experiencing some kind of drama in dating now. And being extremely creative, millennials come up with new slang words to describe everything that possibly can go wrong in dating. So check out hot dating slang you need to know if you want to talk about your dating drama with your bestie. 


Unfortunately, some people on dating apps tend to airbrush their photos in Photoshop too much. And when you meet a person, you can barely recognize them. That's what kittenfishing usually is. Another example of it can be exaggerating some details of their life or even lying about them. Who knows why guys love to say they work in the music industry so often?  


Remember the movie and cartoon about a friendly ghost Casper? That is how caspering got its name. In dating culture, caspering is a more polite and friendly manner of ghosting people. When someone understands that there was no spark or you are just looking for different things, they give you a notice about it before leaving. 


This dating slang is one of our favorites since it refers to the iconic movie Ghostbusters by Bill Murray. Four men were chasing ghosts the same way; now, people chase those who ghosted them. If you get ghosted and try to reach out to that person, it's called ghostbusting. That's a kind of pathetic behavior pattern, so don't do that. 


Be afraid of zombies! Not only on Halloween or Friday the 13th but also in the dating world. Those creatures are the worst because they will "rise from the dead" to get back to you after they ghosted you. Who does that? Only walking dead who claims to be a human being but has no soul. Reconnecting with you, "zombies" will act like nothing happened, like they didn't take off suddenly and unexpectedly, so don't wait for the apology. Vanish ASAP!


When a ghost stays in your life, you always feel its presence. It leaves you some hints that remind you of it and doesn't let you forget it exists. Unfortunately, a person who has ghosted you but keeps interacting with you via social media is doing the same. They haunt your personal space by viewing your stories, liking your posts, and leaving comments. That's a highly toxic behavior, but you can make it stop. Just block your ghost, and haunting won't be a problem anymore. 


Some people can't exit relationships even if they've been miserable for some time. Instead, they lay the groundwork for a new relationship with someone by saying how unhappy they are and that they can't stand it anymore. They will cry on your shoulder and whine about what a jerk their partner is, but they will never start a relationship with you. And that is exactly what layby is. 


When you all dress up, do your makeup and hair just for a date, come to the meeting, and they stand you up, you get glamboozled. When it happens, you are left to sit there all pretty and upset and call your friend to vent. Such practice was common even before dating apps were created, but nowadays, people do that more often because they forget that there is a real person behind the photos in their profiles. 


In one popular tv show, there was a nearly wise thought that hooking up with your ex is eco-friendly. Meaning you don't involve new people with their feelings in your life and don't increase your body count (which doesn't matter, btw). Such a phenomenon in the dating culture is called backslide. It means to come back to a person you have previously dated. 


You might have heard the famous saying, "Happiness loves peace." But when some people say it because they don't want to jinx their happy relationship, others use the saying as an excuse for pocketing. Pocketing means hiding a person you are dating from your friends and family. For example, if you notice that your boyfriend or girlfriend never invites you to hang out with their friends, doesn't take you as +1 to any events, and avoids posting photos with you on social media, they are pocketing. Remember that you are not a loose change to be kept separate! Talk to them or break up. 


If your date makes themselves the center of attention and can't shut up talking about their egocentric ass, you've been "Kanye'd." The name of this dating slang refers to American rapper Kanye West and what he did to singer Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Music Awards. When Taylor Swift was getting her award on stage, Kanye West stole her microphone and her thunder.  

How To Learn Slang For Dating With Promova?

The Promova platform allows you to learn new dating and relationship vocabulary for different needs and occasions. For instance, on our app, you can find a lexicon for Valentine's Day, idioms about weddings and marriage, useful phrasal verbs to describe what's going on in your relationship, etc. Also, Promova provides you with relationship vocabulary from the series Gossip Girl. So you can learn what "to have a crush on someone" and "head over heels" is and start binge-watching your favorite tv show in English. 

Moreover, you can always request our English tutors to help you get acquainted with dating slang and relationship vocabulary in general. Probably, the best choice for you, in this case, would be tutoring with a native speaker or lessons with an American English tutor specifically. Since dating culture is a very American concept, it would be an excellent experience for you to practice dating slang with someone who was or is back on the market. 


Dating itself isn't the easiest thing in the modern world. Probably, being a part of dating culture, you already know the advantages and disadvantages of it. But now, when you learn a lit dating slang, you also learn how to talk about everything that leads to dating. You can go fishing on Tinder, Bumble, Taimi, and Hinge confidently. You won't google what LMIRL is again because you already know what it means. You can discuss dating life with your native friends or friends from abroad who speak English like a pro. Reading this article, you boosted your confidence with dating and English skills.


Is "date" a person or an occasion?

Actually, by the word "date," people understand both – a person and an occasion. A date as an occasion is a type of social engagement when two people with a romantic interest in each other agree to meet and spend some time on a specific day and time. Of course, more than two people can participate in a date in the modern world. Moreover, sometimes people go on double dates (two couples) or group dates (more than two couples). Also, a date can be considered as a person. In such cases, a date is someone with whom you are going out, being romantically interested in them. 

What is the difference between dating and relationships?

According to Wikipedia, "dating" means a stage of a romantic relationship in which two individuals engage in an activity together, most often intending to evaluate each other's suitability as a partner in a future intimate relationship. So, dating precedes relationships but isn't equal to it. And relationships are a conventional type of romantic connection between two or more people. 

What are the most popular romantic nicknames?

Nowadays, there are dozens of variants of how to call a person you are dating or happen to be in a relationship with. God forbid to call them by their real name, at least, the full name. It might be taken as rude and loveless. Remember how Meredith from Grey's Anatomy called Derek McDreamy or Carry Bradshaw from Sex And The City named her boyfriend Big, and nobody knew his real name till the end of the series? They both use romantic nicknames but unique ones. However, there are lots of common romantic nicknames that people use all the time for their beloveds. Examples can be but are not limited to Babe, Baby, Darling, Love, Honey, Sunshine, Pumpkin, Dear, Nugget, Boo, Beau, Bae, Sweetheart, Sweetie, Sweet Pi, Muffin, Sugar, Cutie, Beautiful, Handsome, Pudding, Queen, Papi, Princess, etc.  

Why is dating a thing in the US?

Dating is a huge deal in the USA. There, people are so focused on dating life like nothing else bothers them. But why so? The two apparent reasons dating is so popular in the US are movies and hookup culture. Through the years, the movie industry sold us dating as something thrilling, exciting, and full of life. Americans got so influenced by it, so, apparently, dating became a part of the culture in the US. Another boost of dating in America is hookup culture. Finding someone for a one-night stand became even more effortless with dating apps. So, people got used to it as a phenomenon pretty quickly. 


PromovaOct 3rd, 2023
Great question! Staying up-to-date with the latest dating slang can be challenging due to its rapid evolution. To do so, you can follow online communities, blogs, and social media channels that discuss dating trends and terminology. Engaging in conversations with friends who are actively dating is another effective way to learn about new terms and their meanings. Additionally, some dating apps and websites may provide glossaries or articles about current dating slang, so keeping an eye on these resources can be helpful.
Anna GallagherOct 3rd, 2023
How can someone stay up-to-date with the latest dating slang, considering how quickly it evolves?
GloriaJul 4th, 2023
It's fascinating to see how new terms and expressions emerge to describe various dating experiences and dynamics, reflecting the ever-changing landscape of romance!