A Guide to Dating Terms for 21st Century

A Guide to Dating Terms for 21st Century
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Relationships have undergone a remarkable change in 21st century. This speedy change accompanied with advancement in technology and boredom has led to a major change in dating culture also.

In dating, communication is a key. But in the present century, it’s hard to land that first date without knowing the dating terms and the language of love. All of us talk about dating, mating and relating but we never use these terms.

In a New York Times article titled “The End of Courtship,” social media manager Shani Silver says, “The word ‘date’ should almost be stricken from the dictionary… dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret.”

For instance the term, Catfishing doesn’t have anything to do with pescatarian activity. Similarly, Benching is not something you do at the gym. And Ghosting has nothing to do with the supernatural.


Here’s lingo to decode today’s dating practices…

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Dating Terms You Need To Know

Dating terms you need to know:

1. Benching

Benching dating

Image Credits: stuff.co.nz

Your boyfriend calls you four days in a row, and then disappears for next four. At times he responds to your texts, and at times he doesn’t. In short: he is inconsistent. Well, darling, he’s “benching” you! This means that he likes you, but is not sure about what he wants, and he doesn’t know how to tell you this. So, he keeps the door open, but does not enter. What is the best way to deal with this? Call him, talk to him and see where the conversation goes.

2. Ghosting 

ghosting dating

Image Credits: thestir.cafemom.com

A popular dating term, ghosting is a loutish, passive-aggressive way of breaking up the relationship and is quite common these days. Ghosting in simple terms means when someone, all of a sudden, stops talking to you. No heads-up, no tête-à-tête, no goodbye and no closure. One day, you are discussing about your favourite movie, and the next, they don’t even answer your calls. And just like that, they disappear. It’s over!

3. Zombieing

Zombieing dating

Image Credits: thefrisky.com

Now that you think ghosting is nasty, take a deep breath and brace yourself for this one. A zombie is a person who has earlier ghosted you, and now reappears through social media, as if the suffering they put you through by sudden disappearance wasn’t enough! It all starts with a sentimental status update, a re-add request (if you were un-friended), or a simple like on one of your posts. And now you know what’s going to happen, there’s a “Hi!” in your inbox. A supposedly kind greeting, which ends up opening a box of worms you had sealed tight and buried them under trunks of alcohol and junk food.

4. Swerving

Swerving dating

Image Credits: idiva.com

Made famous as a modern dating term by Kanye West’s song Mercy, “swerving” means dodging someone you are not interested in.  I guess, we all have done this at some point or the other in our lives. Sometimes it is the only way out but it is better to avoid this whenever possible. Simply say “No”.

5. Catfishing


As we all know that online dating has pretty much become a protocol, it is not shocking that people have invented dating games which they digitally play. Catfishing is when someone presents a wrong, but attractive persona of himself or herself online, to entice you into meeting them or get into a relationship. Such people look amazing on screen, but when you meet them in reality, you see that they are nothing like their digital alter ego. You were just taken in by a fake, aka, a catfish.

6. Peacocking

Peacocking dating

Image Credits : girlschase.com

This dating term is somewhat an offline version of catfishing. Peacocking is when someone uses props like his car or clothes or his external appearance to make himself look more attractive. It’s true that we all dress up for a date, and put our best foot forward. But while most of us up our style by a notch or two, peacocks are  those who show off, or beg, borrow, steal so they can look attractive.

7. Textationship

textationship dating

Textationship implies that the only interaction between you and your so-called partner is over text. Neither of you call each other, nor do you guys spend time together. This was adorable when you were 13 and just started to date, but if you are in a textationship for more than a week of your first relationship, then honestly you need to re-evaluate things. How would you feel if you were dumped over text? This happens frequently now, thanks to this trend of textationships.

8. Slaying


Image Credits: bluntmoms.com

Daters who are slaying are not chatting with you for the conversation. They also don’t fall in love. They have just one goal, and that’s scoring, in the biblical sense. They consider themselves to be sexual hunters and the people they flirt with are their prey. Oh, and they want that roll in the hay with no strings attached.

Dating Expressions and their 21st century Equivalents

The verbal differences of some of the most used dating terms are even more hazy and unclear for newly blossoming relationships. Are you hooking up, hanging out, or seeing each other? Is there really even a difference? To make it clearer let’s revisit a time when dating, and the terms used to describe it, were a little more sensible. Here are 11 dating terms from the 50s, and their 21st century interpretations:

1. Wooing/courting

What it meant: Romantically pursuing another person by taking her for dinner, movie, or any other such outing.

What it means now: Texting a romantic interest, “Hey,” on a Friday night at like, 10pm.

2. Going steady

What it meant: This is the next step after courting phase; you now take another person on an exclusive date.

What it means now: Texting a romantic interest, “Hey, what are you up to this weekend?” for several Wednesdays in a row.

3. Beau

What it meant: This is a kind word for significant other. A person you have been going steady with for a while.

What it means now: You have a work holiday type of a thing, and plus ones are encouraged. So you just mention it in passing while having a drink.

4. Getting pinned

What it meant: A young man used to give his school pin to his beau. It was a very serious thing, like wearing your significant other’s letter jacket.

What it means now: FACEBOOK OFFICIAL!

5. Little black book

What it used to mean: A book of names and phone numbers, often used when a person is lonely or recently single.

What it means now: Tinder.

6. Keen

What it meant: You are interested in someone more than a friend – kind of a crush

What it means now: You want to add him or her on Chat, only to see who his or her top friends are. Who is he or she chatting to?

7. Necking/Back seat bingo

What it meant: Kissing, in all of its various forms and locations

What it means now: Hooking up!

So this was the list of terms you need to add to your dating dictionary, so that you can see things for what they are!

Comments (3)

  • Hi Sonal

    This is great and you had me smiling. Indeed the 21st century is getting complex with the new concepts in relationship which have been springing among youngsters.

    It is so great that you list all and show how much dating has changed. Thanks for sharing. Take Care
    ikechi recently posted…Why Focused Passion Makes The DifferenceMy Profile

    • Author

      Hi Ikechi

      Thanks for your wonderful feedback. Great to know that you were smiling while reading it. Ya many new concepts have been on a rise in present relationships. Infact they have become more complex.

      Have a nice day!

  • Thanks for your guide.I love people who share content that is actually helping people and give answers to their most disturbing questions.It will help to make a effective dating.
    dating recently posted…By: SaraMy Profile

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