We are pleased to offer the below definitions to help clarify some of the most misunderstood terms connected with dating and relationships today —Ed.


Abstinence, n. Exercise to enhance personal core strength

Accountability Partner, n. Senior-ranking actuary

Active receptivity, n. Oxymoron used to describe what women should do by those who have no idea what to do with them

Annulment, n. A way for Kennedy men to dispose of Kennedy women

Barrier methods, n. Cloisters and walls

Biblical womanhood, n. Femininity that promotes male headship; e.g. Judith and Holofernes, Salome and John the Baptist

Boyfriend, n. What she thinks he is and he thinks he isn’t

Breakup, n. Change in tone and register at puberty

Broho: Slang, brother who lives on or near Houston Street

Chastity speaker, n. One who encourages others to save room for first ’course

Chivalry, n. (obs.) Rare personality disorder afflicting males, manifests concern for opening doors and paying bills

Conjugal union, n. Two people coming together, in order to exchange verbs

Courtship, n. A period of trial and error, in civil cases

Crazy, adj. Too enthusiastic, honest, or passionate for a man’s taste

Date, n. Indicate or expose as being old-fashioned

Like, v. To take pleasure in social media

Discernment, n. Stringing along a member of the opposite sex, for the love of God

Douche, n. A cold shower

Emoticon, n. Written image used as an aid to devotion

Emotional pornography, n. To bare your soul hard-core to a soft-core audience

Feminine genius, n. Female employee at the Apple Bar

Friends with benefits, n. A person with whom one shares a bond of charity

Friend zone, n. Section of the School of Athens occupied by Platonists

Girlfriend, n. (obs) Gendered term once applied to one’s cis, female-identifying partner

Hang out, n. Undefined. (See “Intentionality”)

Hookup, n. To link arms

K, exclam. A letter of agreement, often binding

Humanae Vitae, n. Popular relationships guidebook written by Pope Paul VI

Intentionality, n. An aim of a serious matter, requiring sufficient reflection, with full consent of free will

Love, n. A score of zero; nil

Marriage, n. (See ‘Conjugal’)

Missionary, n. One who bears the gospel of Christ

MRA (Men’s Rights Activists), n. Men who ascribe to women all the vices they discover in themselves

NFP, n. Not For Profit disorganization

Nice, n. Without distinguishing characteristic

Novena, n. Nine successive rejections

One night stand, n. Single bedside table

Online dating, n. Sharing an Ethernet connection with strangers

Open, adj. Subject to change 

Open relationship, n. Subjected to exchange

Poly, abbreviation. Person excessively or blindly optimistic about the logic of love

Prayer, n. Asking God for a date, when asking others has failed

Procreative sex, adj. The artistic output of young professionals

Radical availability, adj. Long-term unemployment

Right swipe, v. How something begins that will end to the left, to the left

Self-Gift, v. Treat yo self!

Sext, n. A service consisting mainly of reading of the Psalms forming part of the Divine Office of the Western Christian Church, traditionally said at the sixth hour of the day

Sexual Revolution, n. A non-consensual exchange of bourgeois and bohemian norms

Single, n. Basic unit regarded as complete but which can also form a component of a larger whole

Soul mate, n. One who assists on the ship ferrying a soul to Hades

Spiritual Director, n. Terrence Malick

Theology of the Body, n. A series of letters written by John Paul II exhorting men and women to compliment each other more frequently

The Naked Public Square, n. The removal of the emperor’s new clothes

Tinder, n. Dry, flammable material

Titular See, n. Anticlimactic, despite anglicized pronunciation of In-Parti-bus Infideli-um

Vespers, n. Songs exchanged at sunset between lovers

Zelophobia, n. Intense or irrational fear and jealousy of everything from A to Z

Articles by Clare Halpine

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