Online dating has dramatically changed over the last few years. The rise of platforms like Tinder made online dating much more mainstream and hip. As a result, looking for romantic relationships online is now a staple of modern culture. Therefore, it is only natural that slang words for dating start appearing. However, language is quite dynamic, and one can easily get lost in the different dating site acronyms.

So, have you DTR’d with your online hook? Do you suspect that someone is just benching you? Or are you anxious to meet someone IRL? If one or all of those terms caused you to raise an eyebrow, this article is for you.

So, let’s take a look at the most prevalent online dating terms and what they really mean. If you are looking to enter the world of modern online dating, or you just need to brush up on your Tinder slang, read on.

Essential Slang Terms for Hooking Up


One of the most commonly used abbreviations, IRL stands for “in real life.” This term is not exclusive to online dating slang — indeed, social media conversations often involve it as well. The meaning is pretty self-explanatory. Of course, if someone uses this phrase, they are ready to meet you face to face.

“Looking forward to meeting you IRL!”

Swipe Left/Right

This phrase originates from Tinder. It expresses whether you are into someone or not. If you like the person, you swipe right, and if you don’t, you swipe left. The popularity of the expression has grown immensely over the years. On top of that, many other dating apps are adopting the same functionality as a result.

“I will definitely swipe right on this girl.”


Sometimes, people who actively communicate with you via an online dating app might just up and vanish. Of course, the term for this is “ghosting.” It is widely considered to be rude and inappropriate behavior. If someone who had taken an interest in you suddenly stops messaging for no reason, brace yourself — you’ve been ghosted.

“If you want to end things, just message him. Ghosting is for cowards!”

Commonly Used Tinder Slang


Unfortunately, some people use online dating websites for scams. Catfishers usually build up relationships with someone in order to blackmail or extort them. Sadly, those schemes are usually quite complex, and detecting a catfishing scam until it is too late is nearly impossible.

“I suspect that this guy is just catfishing, I should probably be careful.”


As you might have guessed, kittenfishing is a much less sinister type of online deception. People who engage in such behavior doctor their photos and present a lifestyle that does not resemble reality. Sure, kittenfishing is not as harmful as catfishing, but it is inappropriate and definitely a type of scam.

“His profile said that he was a businessman. However, IRL he is just an office clerk. Classic kittenfishing!”


DTR stands for “define the relationship” and is one of the most famous Tinder acronyms. It usually comes into play when the so-called “trial period” has expired and the parties need to decide how to move forward.

“Okay, let’s DTR. Are we together or not?”

Cuffing Season

This one is a bit more complex than the others. Essentially, the term means “handcuffing” yourself to someone for the short term, usually for the autumn-winter season. Once spring comes along, both of you would be allowed to go on your own and seek new romantic overtures.

“How about we keep this going just for cuffing season?”


Are you keeping someone on your “usual contacts” list, chatting with them extensively, but never planned on having a relationship with them? This would be a classic example of benching in the online dating world. Keeping someone “on the bench” might not be considered nice, but hey, we are here to have fun, aren’t we?

“You need to stop texting her. She is benching you, obviously.”

Catch & Release

This is the online equivalent of “no strings attached,” essentially a one-time hookup. After the initial catch and subsequent release, you go straight back to the dating scene. As a prerequisite, no attachments should be formed, and both parties should continue on their way.

“I knew it was not going to be anything serious. A simple catch and release, nothing more.”

Advanced Dating Slang


What do you call someone who has ghosted you for some time and then pops up in your DM’s, acting like nothing happened? A zombie, that’s what. Here is a friendly piece of advice — ignore zombies, as they are often toxic people who cannot form a meaningful relationship in the long term.

“He hasn’t messaged me in a month and now acts all normal. Zombieing is disgusting.”

Love Bombing

This is a prime example of unacceptable dating behavior. Love bombing usually starts with excessive displays of affection. Then, as soon as you decide to engage in a relationship, the bomber reveals their true colors — and more often than not, they are not pretty. However, many people on the opposite side of love bombing are too hooked to spot the abusive behavior.

“She was love bombed by her ex. Unfortunately, it took her quite a while to realize what a prick he was.”

Sliding Into Someone’s DM’s

Have you ever engaged in a conversation with someone in the “comments” section of a social media post? Or has someone you don’t really know consistently liked all your pics? What if that person then gets in touch with you via a direct message, with the obvious intent of romancing you? This is the textbook definition of “sliding into someone’s DM’s.”

“We’ve been chatting through comments for a while now. So, I think we should slide into the DM’s.”

Feeling Educated About Online Dating Slang?

As you can see, there is a whole universe of dating slang abbreviations and phrases out there. Of course, we don’t claim to have covered them all here, but this article should give you a pretty good idea of the most common slang.

For more information on the topic, make sure you browse the rest of iSexyChat’s blog section. We have quite a selection of informative blog articles on online dating!