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What do “swipe left” and “swipe right” mean?



Swipe in an online dating app on a smartphone.
Tero Vesalainen / Shutterstock.com

“Swipe right”

; and “swipe left” are essential phrases in online dating. As a result, they find their way to every corner of the internet – and beyond. This is what these phrases mean and where they come from.

Swipe left, swipe right

If you’ve been on the web lately, chances are you’ve seen a meme or post that uses the term ‘swipe left’ or ‘swipe right’. These two terms come from Tinder, the most popular online dating app in the world.

“Swipe right” means to like or accept someone, while “swipe left” means to reject them. The meaning of these two sentences is taken from one of Tinder’s core mechanics. When a person sees a profile on their Tinder feed, they can swipe right to show their interest or swipe left if they’re not interested. If both people swipe right on each other, they will be paired.

It is normal for two people to mismatch even if one of them swipes right. Creating a match requires mutual interest from both parties. In the end, if you don’t match up with someone you swiped right on, you can just assume they swiped left.

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How Dating Apps Work

Bumble Online Dating
Bumble

While Tinder was the service that popularized ‘swipe right’ and ‘swipe left’, most modern dating apps use a variation of ‘swipe right’ and ‘swipe left’. Other very popular dating apps that use similar mechanics include Bumble and Coffee Meets Bagel.

Most of these dating apps follow a simple premise: upload several photos of yourself along with a description, some interests, and personal information. You will then see profiles within your desired age category, distance and gender. If you and a potential partner both ‘swipe’ at each other, you have a match.

From that moment on you can talk to each other freely, both inside and outside the app. Some apps, like Bumble, also have a timeout feature, where the match expires if someone doesn’t make a move. Many apps also have premium features, including seeing everyone who swiped right on you.

The popularity of dating apps has made online dating the de facto way for many to meet people. As a result, many aspects of this experience have made their way into pop culture.

“Swipe” in Real Life and Memes

Because the culture of online dating has become so ubiquitous and widespread on the Internet and in real life, the terms involved have also become commonplace. The terms “swipe right” and “swipe left” have become ways for people to determine whether they are interested in someone or something.

You may also come across these terms in memes or funny tweets on social media. Usually, “swipe left” on something means that you are displeased with it.

Here are a few examples of online dating slang used in real conversations or memes:

  • I would swipe left on that cake. Too many carbs!
  • I would definitely swipe at him!
  • So how do you feel about your relationship? Swipe left or right?

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Other online dating slang

Aside from swiping left and right, there are a few other terms from the online dating culture that have become popular memes and slang words on the Internet. Here are some you should know:

  • Matching: A few people who have shown mutual interest in each other through a dating app. Matches are allowed to send messages to each other.
  • Super Like / Swipe Up: This is a term derived from Tinder’s “super like” feature, which allows you to showcase your profile to a user you are very interested in. When used outside of Tinder, it means you really like something.
  • Ghosting: This means that you no longer need to reply to anyone at all. This is a fairly popular term, even outside of dating, and can apply to a variety of scenarios.
  • Catfishing: A term that originated in the early days of online dating meaning that you use fake photos of yourself to get more matches and meet more people.
  • Bread-crumbs: This means talking to someone in a non-committal way, which allows them to linger and wait for confirmation.

If you’d like to learn more about popular online slang, check out our breakdowns of the acronyms NSFW and AMA.

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