Do You Know The Newest Online Dating Terms?

It's like a new language.

Dating used to be so easy, right? You’d meet someone. Hook up. And then go your own way. But with all the new ways to flirt, date, dump and get together, comes a new lexicon of terms.

Dating and romance consultant at, Karina Pamamull tells ten daily this new-fangled way of speaking isn’t just for millennials, but rather anyone who’s looking for love, and especially anyone who isn’t having much luck.

"Our ever-growing list of dating terms are just fancy pants words for “I’m just not that into you”, she explains. So, if you’re going to date (or dump) online -- and not lose your mind entirely -- there are some key words to learn.


This particularly shady act is when the person you’ve been engaging with -- either online or via text -- suddenly disappears in a puff of smoke. You may continue to text them but they never get back to you. Boo! They may even block you on social media to avoid having to explain the reason for the breakup. “Translation: lacks considerable courage,” Karina says.


The person you broke up with suddenly reappears on your social media accounts in a subtle and indirect way. It could be as simple as liking one of your Facebook posts, or viewing one of your Snapchat stories so that your name appears on their list. It’s essentially stalking someone on social media. “This can be an absolute nightmare for some people,” she says.


The latest term that should be immediately added to your online dating arsenal. “Orbiting has been deemed worse than ghosting,” Karina says. “It means that after you have been ‘ghosted’, the ‘ghoster’ continues to keep one watchful eye over your social activity -- in other words, the silent stalker will check up on you via Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat stories.”

Online dating terms aren't as spooky as you might think. Image: Getty.

Fear the walking dead! Zombie-ing is when someone who has ghosted you tries to come back into your life. “Perhaps they wanted to date other people or were getting lucky somewhere else and disappeared without as much as a phone call,” Karina explains. “Then like the apocalypse, they return to you, wanting to pick up where you left off.”


This when the person you’re talking to isn’t sure whether they want to take the relationship further, and wants to wait before introducing you and making a more ‘serious’ statement to family and friends. Notably, “There will be no trace of you on social media or at family and friends’ gatherings,” Karina says.


When a person is ‘cushioning’ someone, they want to end the relationship but do not have the guts to say so. Instead of being up front and honest, Karina says they may chat or openly flirt with several other people so you can get the message. Classy!

Master the art of online dating speak for better interactions. Image: Getty.

Think football. Benching is when someone you’ve been dating gradually puts your dates on hold, sometimes without you even realising it. “You’re on the bench until they decide if you are going to make it to the end of the game,” Karina explains. “They are cooling their jets while they take time to consider if you will be goal-kicker or emergency only.”


If you’re thinking of Hansel and Gretel, you’re on the right track. To put it simply, breadcrumbing is leading someone on a trail with flirtatious messages but never following through. It means, “I like you enough to stay in touch, you’re good to text when I am bored, and you give me an ego boost. But that’s about it,” says Karina.

Catch And Release

Similar to breadcrumbers, these pests participate in all of the initial steps of wooing, or ‘catching’, gradually enticing you with their charms. However, when it comes to finally making a commitment, they make a speedy retreat, or ‘release’, never to be seen again. “Meaning: I don’t like you enough to catch up and see you. However, you’re good to text when I am bored,” Karina explains.


Like the TV show of the same name, this is when a person pretends to be someone they’re not. “They’re a figment of your imagination. Literally,” Karina said. “Just when you thought you’d landed an Italian stallion, you find out -- generally after a few months in -- you’ve been chatting online to someone who’s pretending to be someone else.” So less stallion, more donkey, perhaps.

Kitten Fishing

Everyone fibs about their age from time to time, but this tactic takes it to another level. “Kitten fishing is portraying yourself in a younger light in the hope of scoring a much younger partner,” Karina explains. It could be that they are using photos that are years out of date or heavily edited, or lying about their job and hobbies.


The ex who keeps on giving, this term was coined for Jacob Marley, the ghost who comes to visit Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. “In dating terms, the ex will return to your life and be forever keen to reconnect -- generally during the Christmas period. A little nostalgic perhaps,” Karina says.

Make sense of the jargon and have healthier relations. Image: Getty
Slow Fade

The ‘slow fade’ is when someone loses interest and gradually distances themselves from you. “Everything is going well, you’ve established regular contact and planed your next dates in advance, and then suddenly the text messages become less frequent, plans are sporadic, and your dates are inconsistent,” she says.

Cuffing Season

Look out, we’re about to hit prime cuffing time! Loneliness tends to set in as the nights get colder and darkness sets in a little earlier. As a result, people will look for someone special to hold them over for the winter. How romantic! “Cuffing season is for those that want a snuggle buddy and are committed to being tied down during the colder months,” Karina tells.

Feature image: Getty.