Ghosting – What does “Ghosting” mean in British slang?

Hello and Welcome back to Slang with me Louisa May Adams.
This show will give you the chance to hear, understand the origins and meanings of new slang and to use it immediately! So let’s get started…

One of my students recently moved to England. His dream was to meet a lovely english woman and settle down. I wished him luck and warned him to watch of for ghosting! He responded by saying that he was fully aware of the rumors that England was a haunted place. I quickly corrected him, telling him that this was not the type of ghosting I was referring to. So let’s look at this word today!

No matter how you use it, ghosting G-H-O-S-T-I-N-G never really means anything good.

In formal English ghosting is a verb with two meanings, the first is when an apparition of a dead person appears to the living, this is what my student was thinking of.

The second formal use of ghosting is to move smoothly and effortlessly. For example “they ghosted up the river” meaning they moved smoothly up the river.

But today we will be looking at the frequently used slang meaning of this word. In slang the verb to ghost signifies ending a personal relationship with someone suddenly and without explanation by withdrawing from all communication.

Awful right? But it gets worse, as well as stopping communication with a partner, a “ghoster” usually ignores the partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate. Another way of saying this is English is “stonewalling” or giving someone the “silent treatment”.

The act of “ghosting”, has become popular because of the explosion of the dating app culture over the last few years. It usually refers to all contact face-to face and online.

There’s no clear origin for this word but it seems to have come about around 2012 during the rise of dating apps.

It can be used as so: “I didn’t really enjoy our second date so I just ghosted him”, meaning “I didn’t like the date so I have decided to not message or respond to any messages from him”.Or “I didn’t want to ghost her, so we ended up having ‘the talk’”, meaning I didn’t want to cut off all communication suddenly so I decided to talk to her.

So that’s our word of the day! If you are looking for love in an English speaking country please remember avoid ghosting whether you are the target or perpetrator!

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Let’s catch up soon to explore our next slang word.

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