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Added Aug 14, 2015 at 06:47PM EDT by Don.

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"Ghosting" is the practice of terminating a romantic relationship by ceasing all forms of communication and real-life interaction with another person. While the term may convey different meanings in various situations, it is most commonly used to describe the act of unilaterally breaking up with someone by being completely nonresponsive in the context of casual online dating.


On August 29th, 2006, Urban Dictionary[1] user pfidr34 submitted an entry for "ghosting," defining it as "the act of disappearing on your friends without notice."

ghosting 1.) The act of disappering on your friends without notice. 2.) Cancelling plans with little or no notice. Guy #1: Hey, have you heard from Frank? Guy #2: No, I think he is ghosting on us! by pfidr34 August 29, 2006


Prior to its popular usage in the context of dating life, the term also carries several different meanings that are far more technical in nature. In the context of identity theft, ghosting is the practice of assuming the identity of a deceased person.[19] In online gaming, ghosting refers to collaborating with an accomplice using a game's observer mode to view opponents positions in order to gain a competitive edge.[20] In the context of military incarceration, the term ghosting refers to holding unregistered prisoners to conceal their identity.[21] In online community management, comment ghosting is the practice of marking comments invisible to everyone but the original poster.[22] In photography, ghosting can refer an effect that produces semi-transparent objects in a stitched panorama image. In analog television broadcasting, ghosting is the effect of a replicated image offset and superimposed on top of the original, typically caused by receiving a distorted or multipath input signal.


On November 27th, 2013, Urban Dictionary[2] user Ghostface Illa submitted an entry for "ghosting," which defined the term as "a way to break up with someone by ending all contact." On March 24th, 2014, the dating blog The Date Report[6] published an article titled "And Then I Never Heard From Him Again: The Awful Rise of Ghosting," which speculated that the advents of online matchmaking services like Tinder and OKCupid may be responsible for the growing phenomenon of "ghosting" in casual relationships. On the next day, The Daily Dot[5] published an article titled "Are dating apps to blame for 'ghosting'?" On June 26th, 2015, The New York Times[3] published an article about breaking up with a romantic partner via ghosting. On July 2nd, The Daily Dot[4] published an article defending the practice of ghosting in certain circumstances. On July 22nd, The Independent[7] published an article titled "Ghosting: what to do if you've been a victim," describing how to deal with being ignored by a love interest.

2014 YouGov Poll

On October 28th, the market research firm YouGov[23] published a poll results regarding the ghosting behavior of 1000 United States adults, revealing that over 10% have used ghosting to end a relationship. Additionally, the poll results compared the ghosting habits of men and women, finding that roughly 24% of women admitted to have ghosted while 16% of men admitted to the practice (shown below).

FEMALE GHOSTING HABITS MALE GHOSTING HABITS 26.61% 24.17% 13.64% 16.67% Women who have been qhosted Men who have been qhosted Men who have ghosted Women who have ghosted 23.33% 25.83% 36.36% 33.33% Women who have not experienced ghosting in any capacity Women who have both ghosted and been ghosted Men who have not experienced ghosting in any capacity Men who have both ghosted and been qhosted

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External References

[1] Urban Dictionary – ghosting

[2] Urban Dictionary – ghosting

[3] The New York Times – Exes Explain Ghosting, the Ultimate Silent Treatment

[4] The Daily Dot – Ghosting is the worst way to break up with someone--until you're the ghost

[5] The Daily Dot – Are dating apps to blame for ghosting?

[6] The Date Report (via Wayback Machine) – And Then I Never Heard From Him Again

[7] The Independent – Ghosting

[8] The Gloss (via Wayback Machine) – It’s Time We Acted Like Goddamn Adults and Stopped ‘Ghosting’ Each Other

[9] Examiner (via Wayback Machine) – Ghosting: a man-child epidemic

[10] VOX – Ghosting, the easiest way to dump someone, explained

[11] Daily Urbanista – Ghosting: The World’s Shittiest Breakup Method

[12] The Midlife Debutante – Ghosting Isn't Kind

[13] Mamamia (formerly Debrief Daily) – Ghosting. When you leave a party and never say goodbye.

[14] Life of Miss B (via Wayback Machine) – The Bacchie Files #7 The Subtle Art of Ghosting

[15] The Huffington Post – 'Ghosting:' The 21st-Century Dating Problem Everyone Talks About, But No One Knows How To Deal With

[16] BuzzFeed – 12 Ghosting Stories That Will Make You Never Want To Date Again

[17] Thought Catalog – Why Good People Ghost: The Rise Of A Dishonest Dating Culture

[18] Urban Dictionary – Irish Goodbye

[19] Wikipedia – Ghosting

[20] Wikipedia – Cheating in online gaming

[21] Wikipedia – Ghost detainee

[22] Wikipedia – Stealth banning

[23] YouGov – Results – Ghosting
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