Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

In speaking directly to a person of any gender, what might the identifier be for them in terms of their relationship?

For example, "wife" would describe a person who is the female in a married relationship (generally); but is there a good word to use to describe the same, but for any relationship and either partner, other than "person in a relationship"?

share|improve this question
    
Please provide more context. –  coleopterist Mar 7 '13 at 19:05
add comment

5 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The adjective Attached

married, engaged, or associated in an exclusive sexual relationship ⇒ "it's no good dancing with her, she's already attached" (Collins dictionary)

(I would prefer to use "romantic" rather than "sexual" in the definition.)

I don't hear this one too often anymore, but, from what I remember, it was fairly common forty years ago. Now we would just say either "married" or "seeing someone".

share|improve this answer
2  
Since you and I share a name, I'll add my comment to your answer: spoken for is also used for this. –  Jim Mar 7 '13 at 20:25
    
Why do you divide all relationships into these two kinds,"married" and "seeing someone"? What about who is not married and is not seeing someone? It is interesting for me as a cultural aspect. –  Persian Cat Mar 8 '13 at 7:44
    
You're right. I should have said "all romantic relationships". –  Jim Mar 8 '13 at 8:24
    
This one word sums it up the best I've found, thanks! –  trisweb Mar 8 '13 at 19:00
add comment

"She's in a "committed" relationship is generally understood without disclosing the gender of the partner or the type of relationship or living arrangement.

share|improve this answer
add comment

A very similar question has come up before.

I suggested partner, which satifies the requirements of not specifying a person’s sex or the nature of the relationship — except that it is a committed partnership of some kind.

share|improve this answer
    
How can you recognize which kind of partnership it is? Because It is used in business too or am I wrong? –  Persian Cat Mar 8 '13 at 7:39
1  
Context, context, context. But yes, there can be an ambiguity when one's business partner is of the opposite sex (or even the same sex). However that's usually solved by using the term business partner. And then there's life partner or significant other or any of the terms at the linked question. –  Andrew Leach Mar 8 '13 at 7:43
add comment

The usual gender-neutral terms to use are

  • Spouse, for a married couple
  • Partner, for an intimately committed couple
share|improve this answer
add comment

If the person is into Mathematics you could call them a tuple-roomie.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.