Your browser is not supported. We do our best to optimize our websites to the most current web browsers. Please try another browser.

10 Dating Terms We Keep Hearing and What They Mean

Couple kissing against a sunny blue sky

Dating can be sexy, fun, exciting — but it can also be hard. Navigating the complexities of dating can be a struggle, especially in this time. From figuring out your love language and attachment styles to understanding the climate of the culture to nailing down the terms, dating can feel like an alternative universe. But we’ve got your back — here are the dating terms we keep hearing in 2021 and what they mean.


Only date people who are of a certain Myers-Briggs personality type? Only message back those with a specific language? Only hooking up with Aries signs? This is called type-casting in the modern dating world.

See also: Celeb couples who recently called it quits.


Showering someone you just met with excessive affection in an attempt to manipulate them. This sad term speaks to a situation where the feelings aren’t genuine — where someone gives too much, too fast, offers affection and attention in abundance — with an agenda to take control of another individual.


A flirty method used to vie for someone’s attention again without putting any real intentional effort in taking action. Breadcrumbing can look like watching all of someone’s social media stories regularly, liking their digital activity or even exchanging non-committal flirty texts. A victim of breadcrumbing can be left wondering exactly what’s being offered.

White Clawing:

Born from the popular boozy beverage: White Claw. Ever meet someone who is pretty basic, mediocre and maybe even kind of boring? Well, White Clawing is when you date them anyway because they’re hot.

See also: Polyamory 101: Here’s how to do alternative relationships.


Woman seated at a couch against a deep blue wall


Apparently, this consists of treating every relationship like it’s your last. You meet someone, you like them, and then suddenly you’re committed and in a serious relationship. This has come into prominence during the pandemic where being in each other’s ‘bubbles’ is a crucial factor for any new relationship.


You’re home (because it’s still the pandemic), fisting a bag of Cheetos and re-watching Wentworth when your phone lights up: it’s that chick who ghosted you two months ago. Y’know, the one who you enjoyed several dates with, introduced your dog to, planned an adventure outside of the city with… before she fell off the face of the earth, ending your pattern of consistency completely, one day at random. You’ve healed, moved on, bucketed her under “trash human” — decided with your committee of close friends that she is dead to you. Zombie-ing is when she rises from the emotional grave and slides right into your DMs, texts at random or just shows back up in your life in some way, hoping to reignite interest.


Catch & Release:

Usually used to describe hook-up dynamics, tryst-seekers use the term catch & release to describe their intentions to sleep with a mate and then “release” them back into the dating pool, no strings attached.

Woman on her smartphone


Does a prospective love interest show potential, but something’s holding you back from going further with them? You’re not quite sure if they’d make a good partner, but you’re also kind of curious to find out and see how things unfold slowly over time. This means, you’ll text them just enough to keep the quasi-relationship going, but you’re by no means all-in; in fact, you’re keeping your options open.


Cousin to emotional cheating, micro-cheating describes all the minor, casual-seeming interactions with someone you’re romantically interested in, but who definitely isn’t your SO (significant other). While you haven’t committed the dirty with them, nor even stepped far out of bounds, you’ve maybe slid into their DMs, and you’ve definitely devoted more emotional, psychological and other resources to this person, than you would to platonic mate.

Related: What is micro-cheating and are you guilty of it?


Cuffing Season:

Used to describe the time of year when the temps drop, and the nights get long and lonesome, cuffing season draws us away from fun and fast summer flings, and towards the coziness of more serious, steady and intimate relationships.

A couple lighting a sparkler against a summer sky


Unlike cuffing season, freckling is all about seeking coupledom during the warm summer months, only.


It’s convenient, but it’s not quite in a relationship, nor a fling…What do you call this situation you find yourself in? You’re in a situationship. Bang your roommate by accident? It’s a situationship during lockdown.

See also: How to have safer sex during lockdown


Latest News

This content is restricted to adults of legal age.
Please enter your birthdate to confirm.
Date of Birth