Gone are the days of ‘hubby’ ‘friends with benefits’ ‘no strings attached’ ‘Bf and Gf foreva’. We live in the world of ‘Tindering’, ‘bae’ and ‘sexts’. Have you ever been part of a relationship and dating network that uses slang words for love like ‘ghosting’ ‘benching’ ‘draking’ and felt a little disappointed that you haven’t updated your vocabulary with the latest love slang? Don’t despair over your ignorance in the matters of modern slang words for love. Thankfully, with practice, you can learn pretty much anything – be it playing the piano or learning a new language, even if it is the spanking new and upgraded dating vocab that has made an emergence in the 21st century.
These are the days of fast internet, fast living, and fast dating. So, it is all the more important for the language to keep up with the speed of dating. When one’s fate is decided depending on 1 profile photo and a short bio on Tinder, an updated dating vocab – chock full of the latest phrases for love and terms – can be a lifesaver.
Today, dating language – from terms of endearment, relationship status, phrases for love, romantic inclinations and feelings – has been upgraded to include shorthands and love slang. Texting the usual lmao and WTF on WhatsApp does not just cover it anymore. The dating language of the 21st century may be designed to be fast but it is also precise – summing up your feelings in the space of 3 letters like DTF. But what do these terms, shorthands, and relationship slangs even stand for? Well, each term comes with its own implication, rule, and revelation. And we have explained the very basics and the core of the modern language of love in this article.
So, without further ado, let us help you hold on to your street creds and up your dating game with this list of ten modern relationship slang words and phrases that may just come in handy the next time you go swipe right on someone on Tinder.
Modern Day Dating Vocab
The modern-day dating vocab and love slang work as any other language system does. These slang words for dating have their own grammatical rules, verbs, prepositions, specific meanings and uses. Not every term of this love language is usable in every scenario. Almost each of these slangs and shorthands is designed to be efficient and precise.
So, they are almost definitely not interchangeable. And because we do not want you to be confused between DTR and DTF – which have completely different implications and meanings – we have listed below a comprehensive guide to the modern words of love, romance, and the 21st-century specific art of wooing:
1. DTR (verb)
An abbreviation of Define The Relationship, DTR is just another slang for love. This is when two people discuss their mutual understanding of a romantic relationship, making it one of the slang words for dating. It may be one of the newer slang words for dating, but it basically is a shorter version of the once very dreaded questions i.e. “Where is this relationship going?”
If someone asks you to DTR, know that it is the relationship slang for “it’s time to have the talk.” So, make yourself and your partner big mugs of coffee and get ready to discuss the details of your relationship, your feelings for each other, what future you see for and with each other, etc. Sometimes, though, it is even simpler than that. If he lists you on Facebook as his girlfriend, that’s it. You guys have DTR-ed. Congratulations, you are now in a relationship.
– Sally and Harry are dating; but they are yet to DTR
– I don’t know, I like him but we are yet to DTR.
– I can’t ask him to meet my parents. We haven’t even DTR-ed yet!
2. DTF (descriptive phrase, adjective)
The love slang DTF literally means ‘down to fuck’, and is used to describe someone who wants to have sex at the earliest opportunity. Someone who is being defined with the slang for love DTF is, thus, a girl or a guy who wants to sleep with you if and when presented with the opportunity. Use the slang like you would use the phrase. You can ask if someone is DTF, for example. Or you can define someone as DTF.
– My girlfriend is always DTF. All you need to do is ask.
– I think she is DTF but I am not sure yet.
– Bro, just hit him up and ask if he is DTF. It’s as easy as that.
3. Ghosting (verb)
Ghosting is slang for love between long-dead entities. It refers to the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by withdrawing from all communication, suddenly and without explanation. Basically, it is a situation where you just disappear – much like a ghost would. You don’t pick up their calls. You don’t answer their texts. And you keep hoping that if you ignore them for long enough, they are going to get the hint and realize you are not interested.
– Ghosting is the most horrible modern dating habit. Be aware.
– Man, I can’t believe she ghosted me. I thought we were getting along like a house on fire.
– Oh, she is so creepy I couldn’t take it. I had to ghost her.
4. Catfishing (verb)
This one is not one of those love slang phrases but it implies scamming. It means to lure (someone) into a fake relationship by adopting a fictional online persona. Catfishing is literally scamming someone. You can catfish someone by putting up a picture of a 25-year-old girl when you are 43 something in reality.
Or you could add your own super photoshopped images to your dating profile, photos that look nothing like you. You may adopt a different name. Say you are from a different country. Have a different job and gender. In the online dating world, catfishing someone is a piece of cake. But obviously, you are gonna get caught the moment you meet.
– Hey, it’s not her fault. Anyone can get catfished these days.
– I don’t know, man. He sounds too good to be true. Maybe he is catfishing you.
– No, they are not a 25-year-old self-made CEO. Turns out it was a 56-year-old person living in their mom’s basement. I was totally catfished.
5. Benching (verb)
Benching is one of those love slang phrases that is worse than ghosting. The term means to lead someone on, but not commit to them because you are unsure and simply want to keep them hanging. This is usually done in situations when you are not really attracted to or interested in the person. But they are into you so you keep them as an option either because you enjoy the attention or because you don’t know if the person you actually like will show any interest in you.
– He would do everything in his power to impress me on our dates, and after that, he would simply disappear on me. I feel like I am being benched.
– He won’t text for weeks and then suddenly send me the sweetest messages or like a bouquet out of nowhere. I don’t know what to think. I think he is benching me.
6. Swerve (verb)
Love slang phrase ‘swerve’ means to dodge someone you have no romantic interest in. This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You know how you swerve a car to avoid hitting an object? It is like doing the same but to a person who is interested in you. Honestly, doing what this love slang implies is far better than benching them and leaving them hanging. At least, this way they know your answer and what you feel about the situation.
– Don’t like him? Just swerve him.
– Oops, I think he just swerved me. Well, good riddance, I guess.
7. Cuffing season (noun)
A 21st-century slang, cuffing season is that period of time between fall and the dead of winter when people start looking for someone they can spend those long, frigid months with. It is said that the colder it gets, the more people crave intimacy. So, people tend to start settling for partners they would not usually pay any heed to. That is because it is cuffing season and no one wants to be alone in the cuffing season.
– Being alone sucks. Glad the cuffing season is here!
– Ugh, I can’t believe cuffing season is here and I still don’t have anyone to cuddle with.
– I am not sure if it is the cuffing season or she’s just looking for a rebound relationship, but she’s sure coming on to me hard
8. Draking (verb)
This is another 21st-century slang that sums up what modern-day dating feels like. It means wallowing in sadness because of romantic failures. This term was made famous by the rapper Drake and encompasses a refusal to move on. You just want to sit at home, tuck into a tub of ice cream and go into full-on draking mode.
– Here, have a beer, And stop draking!
– I can’t believe you are draking over someone who probably thinks the earth is flat. Move on, hun!
9. Thirst Trap (noun)
This 21st-century slang refers to posting sexy photographs or a flirty message on social media with the intent of causing others to publicly profess their attraction. You know what we are talking about. The photos that show just that bit of cleavage or a hot tattoo and leave you hungering for more. Or maybe they suddenly start posting about how horny they are or how much they want to cuddle with someone. These are some classic examples of thirst traps.
But, be warned, not every sexy photo a girl posts is an invitation to slide into her DMs. Maybe she was just feeling cute that day. Even if you do want to try and take a shot at it, make sure you keep your manners and respect the space of the person you think posted a thirst trap because they want to have a one-night stand.
– “Did you check her photograph on Instagram?” “Yeah, her latest thirst trap.”
– You are posting a lot of thirst traps lately. What’s up? Feeling lonely this cuffing season?
Related Reading: 12 Unmistakable Signs It’s Time to Kiss A Girl
10. Non-Date Date (noun)
This love slang implies that it is not a real date but sort of ‘hanging out’ with each other. Creates great confusion as to what the two people are actually doing. This is not a friend date either. This situation usually arises when no one voices their interest or feelings toward each other, leaving a lot of space for confusion.
– No, it’s not a real date. Just a non-date date.
– I don’t know if it was a date or a non-date date. Neither of us said anything and now I don’t know how to DTR!
OMG, I am confused now. Welcome to love in the 21st century!