If you’ve ever so much as peeked at a mobile dating app you’ll know it’s a minefield of technical lingo – a positively unknowable tangle of acronyms and syntax and the odd aubergine emoji. For anyone new to the game, it’d be like trying to find love while speaking exclusively in pig Latin.
Thankfully, we’ve saved you hours of frustration by compiling every term we can think of in one place: a mobile dating dictionary. So the next time that cute guy or gal slides into your DMs and hits you with the ‘DTF?’ you’ll know what the hell is going on!
Aubergine Emoji (and other emoji)
“We hadn’t even spoken properly when he hit me with the aubergine emoji. What a creep.”
Definition: When you use a specific set of emojis to signify something entirely different. Use your imagination!
“We’ve been chatting for ages and still haven’t met up. I think they’re breadcrumbing me”
Definition: Leading someone on with chat but have no intention of seriously dating them.
“One second, just got to see what BAE’s up to.”
Definition: Before Anyone Else – pronounced ‘Bay.’ The most important person in your life right now – usually a romantic partner, however, it can be used to describe best friends or even close family members.
“I found the girl of my dreams last night, but she turned out to be a bot.”
Definition: Short for ‘robot’, a bot is a fake account on a dating app that tries to pass as human. They’re easily identifiable by their lack of profile information, perfect pictures, broken English and dodgy links.
“He/she never wants to video call, I think I’m being catfished”
Definition: A catfish is someone that builds a false (but very convincing) internet profile and uses it to talk to strangers. They will usually only communicate online and avoid video calls or face-to-face meetings.
“Night’s are drawing in, better find someone squishy for Cuffing Season!”
Definition: During the colder months, otherwise happily-single people will find someone to cuddle up with (handcuff themselves to) until Spring.
“I’m really getting on with this girl, but making sure I’m texting this other one as well. I’m definitely cushioning.”
Definition: When you maintain contact with more than one romantic partner as ‘back up’ in case one of them doesn’t work out.
“Hey sufficiently attractive stranger, you DTF?”
Definition: Down to… fornicate.
“We’ve been seeing each other for 3 months now, I think it’s time to DTR”
Definition: Define the Relationship. It’s time for an awkward chat about what this is.
“You uploaded a picture of you two together last night, I guess you’re FBO.”
Definition: Facebook Official. It may not have the significance that it once had, but there’s no denying that once you’re FBO, you’re in a legitimate relationship. This doesn’t have to mean you’ve changed your relationship status, even posting a photo together can mean you’re FBO.
“So you’re not dating… and you’re not just friends? I guess you’re FWB.”
Definition: Friends with Benefits. You’re definitely not in a relationship, but you may have a casual fling every now and then.
“They haven’t responded in days. I think I’ve been ghosted.”
Definition: When someone you’re talking to simply stops responding, for seemingly no reason. They won’t respond to your messages or return your calls – they’ve become a ghost.
“Why are they wearing a hat in every picture? This better not be a hatfish!”
Definition: Very much like catfishing, this is when someone exclusively wears hats in their pictures in order to hide their baldness or terrible choice in barber.
“I really like you, we should meet up IRL.”
Definition: In Real Life. When the chat is going well and you’re ready to meet face-to-face.
“That photo looks edited. Are they Kittenfishing me?”
Definition: Baby steps to a full-blown Catfish. Kittenfishing is when someone purposefully lies or edits their profile to make themselves look better than they are. This could mean changing their job to imply they make more money or even edit their photos to look more attractive.
Left on Read
“I can’t believe he/she left me on read!”
Definition: A term normal associated with Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, where your phone shows that they’ve received and opened a message but have not replied.
“He was soooo hot, I had to swipe right!”
Definition: Commonly associated the Tinder app, you swipe right on a person that you think is attractive. If they also swipe right on you, you’ll be able to start a conversation.
Sliding into DMs
“I thought their photos looked really nice so I slid into the DMs.”
Definition: When you like the look of someone online and you hit them up on direct messages. This is most often associated with Instagram and Twitter.
“I think it’s time to end things, but I don’t want to hurt their feelings. Might be time for the slow fade.”
Definition: As the name implies, this is when someone slowly reduces contact with a romantic partner with the aim of eventually ceasing communication completely.
“Woah, they’re stunning – what a snack!”
Definition: Snack is just one of the many terms to describe a hot person. Please don’t use this.
“I think he/she is submarining me.”
Definition: When someone you’re chatting to or romantically involved with leaves without notice, only to pop up again some time later without acknowledgement or apology.
“I’m not interested, but these creeps won’t stop tindstagramming me.”
Definition: A portmanteau of Tinder and Instagram, this is when someone you’ve rejected on a dating app finds you on Instagram and messages you there instead.