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English Slang for Online Dating

English Slang for Online Dating

These days, it's hard to imagine that online dating was ever a new or scary thing. Over the years, it has become a normal part of the dating experience and a common way to meet new people.

However, just like many other things on the internet, online dating has many special terms and expressions you should know if you want to have the best experience. This article will introduce 10 expressions that are popular for talking about online dating and text messaging with romantic partners.

Before we begin, we have a small warning: most of these terms are very casual, so be sure to use them only in the appropriate situations. OK, let's start!


A man stashing a wallet into his jacket pocket

If you "stash" something, you put it away or out of sight (that's why it's also sometimes called "pocketing"). For example, a child may quickly stash some candy before their teacher sees it, or you may stash a little bit of money for later to avoid spending it all now.

So how does this relate to dating? Well, if you've been in a relationship with someone for a while, but you've never met their friends or family, it's possible that your partner is keeping you a secret from them. In other words, they might be stashing you!

We've been dating for six months, but he hasn't introduced me to any of his friends.
It sounds like he's stashed you. Are you gonna say something to him about it?


If it's more than a friendship but not quite a serious relationship, what is it? Well, it's probably a "situationship."

This word is what's called a "portmanteau," which is a word created by combining two separate words' sounds and meanings. In this case, we have a combination of "situation" and "relationship."

Situationships often cause one or both partners to feel confused or frustrated because things are not clear.

So, are you two dating?
Not really. It's a …situationship.


A depressed baseball player sitting alone on her team's bench

This expression comes from baseball, when a team coach pulls a player out of a game and makes them sit on the bench instead. It's a verb, as in, "If you make that mistake again, I'm benching you."

Its use in dating is very similar. Benching someone means not giving them complete attention because you don't feel strongly enough about them, or perhaps because you have stronger feelings for another person. However, you don't completely stop communicating with them because you don't know how you will feel in the future. Like a benched athlete, that person is still in the game but isn't actually "playing."

I feel like he's benching me. He never seems serious about meeting or hanging out.


Before we explain this term, we should first explain "catfishing." Catfishing is when someone lies about themselves in order to trick other people online, perhaps to get money or for other reasons.

Catfishing can lead to bad situations, but "kittenfishing" is a little less serious (because kittens are just baby cats, after all). People who kittenfish usually just want to appear more attractive in their online dating profiles, so they may lie about how tall they are or use filters to make themselves look prettier in their pictures.

It's hard to trust anyone's profile. I never know who's kittenfishing and who isn't.


We have a few words on our list that sound spooky, and the first is "ghosting." Ghosting someone means suddenly ending communication with them. Like a ghost, it's like you've disappeared! It's a rude thing to do to someone, and being ghosted can be frustrating, especially if you felt you had a good connection with the other person.

I thought we were getting along well, so I was surprised when she ghosted me.


A zombie suddenly calling a date he ghosted a long time ago

The opposite of ghosting is "zombieing." What if the same person who ghosted you a few months ago suddenly contacts you again without an explanation? Your relationship with this person was "dead," but now it's back! Sounds like a zombie, doesn't it?

Wow, I just got zombied by Terry. He hasn't called me in months!


"Haunting" is our final scary word, and it's the lighter version of zombieing. Imagine that you ended a relationship with someone some time ago and you no longer speak to them. However, sometimes that person "likes" something you post on social media. Even though you don't see or talk to them anymore, they are still watching what you do online. You're being haunted!

Sophie just liked another one of my posts. It's been six months; I wish she'd stop haunting me and move on!


Fall and winter are popular times for people to begin relationships. People like the comfort of a partner when the weather gets cold and when family holidays like Christmas are near. That's why this time of year is sometimes called "cuffing season." It comes from the word "handcuffs" and the nuance is that you're handcuffing, or attaching, yourself to someone. Will the relationship last when spring comes? That depends on the couple…

It's almost cuffing season, so she's been going on a lot of dates lately.


The next term is the opposite of cuffing. Freckles are the small brown spots that some people have on their faces or other parts of their bodies. Freckles can appear or become darker when the skin is exposed to sunshine.

When it comes to romance, "freckling" is dating specifically in the warmer months of the year but usually not after that. These kinds of relationships are also sometimes called "summer flings." 

It was just freckling; we didn't really see each other after September.
It was just a summer fling; we didn't really see each other after September.

Dawn dating

A man and woman enjoying a date early in the morning

Dawn is the time of day when the sun begins to rise. When most people think of dates, they usually think about activities in the evening, such as dinner, late movies or perhaps cocktails at a bar.

But what about meeting early in the day instead? That's exactly what dawn dating is — going on dates before noon.

So far, we've met for breakfast and a few morning jogs.
Dawn dating, huh? I should try that.

There's also an extra meaning for this term: "dawn" can be used to refer to the start or beginning of something. Perhaps the start of a great relationship?


The internet and smartphones have changed the way people communicate. New ways of finding and interacting with dates bring new possibilities for both good and bad situations. Of course, language has also changed in order to talk about our new realities.

However, like all slang, new terms are always appearing while others disappear. But the basic ups and downs that come with dating will never change, so you can be sure that people will always come up with creative ways to talk about it!