Tips online dating slang

Last updated on January 18, 2016 | by Aet Suvari


Online Dating Slang

From the slow fade to the catch and release, tinderella’s to 143’s – we dive into the weird and wonderful world of online dating slang…

Online Dating might be 25 years old but it’s also a living, breathing thing, which means in this uber hip world of ours it’s also developed its very own lingo.

If you’re not an experienced online dater, knowing some words and expressions will make your life invariably easier. So here goes, our little glossary of online dating slang:

Cuffing Season

It happens inevitably every November. As the nights get longer and weather grows colder the online dating sites gain more and more popularity. Online dating enjoys its height all through the holiday season, peaking – some say – on the first weekend in January, but really carrying on riding the high tide up until Valentine’s Day. So – that’s what this period is called, cuffing season. So if you’re feeling the irresistible urge to sign up and get “cuffed up”, don’t worry – you’ve just fallen victim to the cuffing season.


OK, this seemed almost too obvious to be included in this list – yet, as it’s one of the most used words of 2015 we couldn’t just pass it by, even though it almost feels like explaining what “googling” is. But just on the off chance you’ve been living in a cave on a deserted island with no internet access, Tinder is an online dating app, which has taken the world of internet dating by storm and changed the landscape completely. How? Let us come to that with our next word on the list.


If you were born any time before 2015 I’m sure you too wouldn’t have initially found there was anything wrong with “hooking up”. Yes, it’s an American expression but it worked fine in Beverly Hills 90210 (if you were born in the 80s), Gilmore Girls (if you were born in the 90s) or Gossip Girl (if you were born in the 00s). These amazingly good-looking young people “hooked up”, went to the movies, made out in the drive-ins and plotted their revenges if need be.

Yeah, that’s not what we’re talking about now. One thing that Tinder has – allegedly – brought along is the rise of the “hookup culture”. It no longer has anything to do with real dating. It’s just all about casual sex outside of commitment or any romantic relationship.

Netflix and chill

Netflix is Netflix and chill is chill. But don’t assume for a second that Netflix and chill actually involves watching a movie and cuddling on a sofa. In the modern world of Tinder it’s actually just another euphemism for hooking up.


So how does the whole Tindering and hooking up work? Easy! All you need to do is swipe. Swipe right and you’ve just given someone a “yes”. Swipe left and it’s a “no”. If both of you swipe right on each other’s Tinder profiles it’s a match and you can start hooking up! Or… it might also be that you’ve found your Tinderella. Wait, what?


So now that we’ve explained tindering and swiping, it seems almost unnecessary to go into Tinderella. Yes, it derives from Cinderella. Yes, it’s exclusive to Tinder users. And yes, it means that very special someone who you have been looking for all along.

Slow Fade (aka Ghosted or Swayzed)

I’m sure we’ve all been there. You’re happily chatting away with someone on an online dating site, you’re slowly getting closer to each other, you go out on a date, which… ok, maybe isn’t exactly out-of-this-world-amazing, but still pretty good, you feel like you like this person a lot, (s)he doesn’t perhaps seem as keen as you to take the relationship further but as (s)he hasn’t given you any indication to the contrary, you’re just thinking that perhaps (s)he needs a little more time and a little more encouragement.

Except (s)he doesn’t. Slowly the communication starts to cease, gradually you’re getting less and less replies to your emails or text messages. Sound familiar? That’s what the Slow Fade means – you have slowly been faded out. In the US it’s also been called Ghosting or Swayzeing – coming from the 90s movie “Ghost” starring Patrick Swayze (why on earth they call it that we have no idea – the guy died on Demi Moore, he didn’t just pull a disappearing act!)

Catch and release

Some people date you and then leave you. It doesn’t feel good but it happens. At least you sort of understand it as I am sure you have met up with someone, decided that person is not for you after all and then called it quits. Maybe you’ve even slow-faded someone out. It’s not nice but we’re not judging. It’s what dating is all about after all. Finding the right person.

What dating is NOT about though is just stringing people along for the thrill of the chase. That’s what they call catch and release and this is how it works: someone will start talking to you online, paying you compliments, slowly urging his or her way under your skin… you have these amazing conversations, these great laughs together, seems that you have so much in common, and then… boom! – just when you started thinking (s)he might be the one, (s)he is out of your life!

Textlationship or textashionship

Another form of online dating, which never really leaves the realms of the virtual world. Especially common when the online daters live far apart from each other, but it could also happen to people living on the same street! You have this amazing relationship with your special someone, full of texts and sexts (another new-ish word!), long conversations, flirts, everyday chit-chat… but it’s all on your screen (mobile or computer, doesn’t really matter).


We’re all for having great photos on your profile! We’ve been telling our readers for a long time how important it is not to have just one fuzzy selfie or that old group photo of you and your drunken colleagues as your profile pic. In fact, we’ve even encouraged getting proper professional photos taken of you for your dating profile. Because we get it. Photos are very important on an online dating site. However, there’s a line. Having great photos of you is completely fine. Having hundreds of photos of you showing off your cleavage/six pack/tattooed backside is not. That’s what has been labelled “thirsty” for attention. You don’t want to be that person.


Another person who you don’t want to be is someone so fixated on your ex that you can’t do anything else but stalk him/her online. Even if you met up on an online dating website it’s no excuse to keep checking his/her profile! Block the damn page or better still – sign up for a different site. Here’s our list of the 10 best online dating websites in the UK.


Here’s a word we don’t like at all as it’s slowly becoming a popular phenomenon and while we surely hope you’ll never get slow faded, it is peanuts compared to getting catfished. Catfish is someone who has created a false identity for himself or herself online (be it Facebook, Google Plus, Tinder, Twitter, Instagram, you name it) in order to pursue false romances online. These people will stop at nothing, they’re willing to create whole false networks online to make them look like someone they most certainly aren’t, and sometimes even really famous people have fallen prey to them.


Let’s now leave the ugliness behind and enter the sweet zone. 143 – what could that be? Any ideas? Well, it’s only another way of proclaiming your love for someone! Yes, apparently the numbers signify the number of letters in the well-known phrase “I love you”. Isn’t it romantic? And also necessary, taking into account the fact that “I love you” is a long and complicated phrase, which is indeed exhausting to type, even in the era of predictive text.

All sarcasm aside, I’m sure it would still make your heart jump just a little if you got your first 143 from that special match on a dating site.

So that’s our take on the glossary of online dating slang. Any words we left out that you feel should be in this list? Any explanations you’d like to add to? Let us know! We’d love to have your feedback (or should I say, we’d 4 to have your feedback…?)!

About the Author

has been reviewing and writing about the world of online dating since 2008 and the launch of Online Dating Help. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the UK dating industry she champions the sites that get it right while highlighting those holding it back. You can follow her on Google+

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