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Six Dating Slang Terms (And How to Use Them)

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For some, the language of love comes as naturally as their mother tongue. Unfortunately, the rest of us have to work a little harder to understand the lingo of dating.

If you fall into the latter category, you could probably do with a few pointers on what to say and when to say it! Here are some dating slang terms you need to know.


What it means: This one is pretty simple, and you may have heard it before now. DTR stands for define the relationship.

When to use it: When you’re stuck in the no-man’s land between seeing each other and actually being in a fully fledged relationship. If you want to take the next step, it might be time to ask your partner to DTR pronto.


What it means: Ghosting is a fairly new term to describe something that’s happened since the dawn of time. After you’ve bedded someone for the first time, you might notice a change in their behaviour. If they start becoming more and more distant (or ignoring you completely), the chances are, you’ve been ‘ghosted.’

When to use it: When telling your friends about the situation, you might say, “Yeah, he completely ghosted me, and I don’t get why!”


What it means: The world of online dating and apps means that a lot of people find themselves in textlationships. When you message someone practically every day, act as though they are your partner, yet never see them IRL (in real life), you might find yourself in one of these.

When to use it: When you finally decide to confront them about the situation. You may say, “Hey, is this a textlationship or what?”


What it means: Babe or baby.

When to use it: Never.

Catch and release

What it means: Exactly what it says on the tin. This is what people do when they just love the thrill of the chase. Once you seem interested in them, they let you go. After all, it’s no fun for them if you’re not playing hard to get.

When to use it: When you realise that someone is only interested in you when you’re not interested in them.

On a thing

What it means: Rather than ‘seeing someone,’ people are now saying that they’re ‘on a thing’ with the person.

When to use it: When you’re not actually with someone yet, but you’ve spent a whole lot of time with them and things are going well. For example, “Me and Mark? Yeah, we’re totally on a thing now!”

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