Hooking Up: Teen Dating Slang That Every Parent Should Know

Cuffing Season, Ghosting, Hooking Up: Teen Dating Slang That Every Parent Should Know

It’s fall, which means it’s cuffing season … but what the heck is that? Translating teen slang is no easy feat, especially when it comes to the terms they throw around to describe sex and relationships. Many of these terms are harmless, but some aren’t—so it’s important as a parent to stay on top of the latest lingo, particularly when it’s being used as code in texts and emails to hide things from prying adult eyes.

Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular terms that teens use to describe modern romance, from the tamest to the riskiest. Just to be clear: We’re definitely not suggesting that you violate your child’s privacy, but if you hear or come across any of these terms, there might be more going on than meets the eye. Don’t see the term you’re looking for? Try this comprehensive list of acronyms or this guide to teen slang.

Popular Dating Slang and Acronyms

Term - What it Means

Two people are romantically interested in each other, but are not dating (or even “hanging out”) yet.

hanging out
“Dating without dating”—two people are spending time together but neither is committed to anything serious.

Boyfriend or girlfriend.

cuffing season
Times of year (specifically fall and winter) when single people find themselves wanting to be in a serious relationship.

Suddenly stopping communication with a romantic or sexual partner.

Netflix and chill
Inviting a person over to watch movies and hoping that it leads to making out or sex.

hooking up
Engaging in some kind of sexual activity. Keep in mind that “hooking up” can mean different things to different people (from kissing to actual sex).

Short for “friends with benefits,” or friends who have a sexual relationship without any commitment or monogamy.

Short for “down to f**k” (willing to have sex).

Short for “get naked on camera.” (Used online or in text messages.)

Short for “I want sex now.”

Texting terms that may be code for “a parent is watching/listening”:

MOS (Mom Over Shoulder)
PAW (Parents Are Watching)
CD9 and 9.