Matchmaking and Personals Lingo You Need to Know

“If you’re on a dating site then you must know some basic lingos”

When you’re hitting up the casual dating scene, chances are that you will be reading quite a few dating profiles and personal ads. While you might just want to jump right in to the scene, there is quite a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the lingo that is used on these types of sites. You might not understand what you’re looking at, and that can wind up leading to awkward situations when you don’t respond to the right ad or you don’t wind up getting what you want. It can be quite confusing for the uninitiated, so we have some of the most common abbreviations that you will see on these types of sites and profiles. It’ll help you jump right in and hit the ground running when you want to start hooking up.


NSA and SWS are two terms that you are going to see quite often when you start browsing personal ads and matchmaking sites. These are terms you’re going to want to start using on a regular basis, too. NSA means no strings attached and implies a hookup without any contact afterwards or any kind of lasting relationship. SWS means sex without strings, and implies the same thing – a one night stand with no long-lasting relationship or even contact with each other afterwards. Obviously these are going to be terms you’re going to want to use quite often if you’re looking to hook up with women, so keep these in mind when it comes time for you to craft your personal ad.

W4M, M4W, W4MW, and all their ilk

“I am finding it hard to use dating lingo”

These are more terms and abbreviations that help you quickly asses what kind of ad you’re looking at. W4M means woman for man, and M4W means man for woman. You’ll find these abbreviations quite helpful when writing your ads. W4MW might seem a bit odd, but it just means a woman (or man, if the term is M4MW or M4WW – lucky you!) that’s looking for a man and a woman, usually a couple. You can use these basics to figure out what basically any combination means, so don’t squint and feel lost any longer. It’s fairly simple!


This is a phrase we hope you will see often, and one we hope you will be using as well. It means drug and disease free, and it’s meant to tell potential partners that you’re clean and safe. It’s probably still okay to use this tag if you smoke a little weed here and there, but if you’re into anything harder, it doesn’t count. DDF is an important tag to keep an eye out for, since safety is so important in the hookup scene.


BBW indicates either a big beautiful woman or a beautiful/big black woman – it can have a few different meanings. In general, it is meant to indicate a specific type of person. If you’re not interested in either of the definitions for this, it allows you to move on instead of wasting any time looking at the ad.

Our Favorite Sites

Match logo image
eHarmony image logo
logo Xpress image

Top Picks for Online Matchmaking

#1 Site: Match
#2 Site: eHarmony
#3 Site: Xpress

Worst Sites

OKCupid logo image
On image logo
logo Mingle2 image
image POF logo
logo image LavaLife
image logo SinglesNet
logo image for MatchMaker
image logo for Meetic
SpeedDate logo img
MyFreePersonals img logo
logo Zoosk img
img Cupid logo
logo img Spark
img logo Date
logo img for Flirt
img logo for Mate1
MySingleFriend screen logo
CyberDating logo screen
screen JustSingles logo
logo BeautifulPeople screen