I'm looking for an adjective which I could use for example in the following situation:

"Don't try to understand the joke Joanne said to George; it's a in-joke between romantic partners."


"Don't try to understand the joke Joanne said to George; it's a [X adjective] in-joke."

Does this "X adjective" exist? Is it defined in a thesaurus?

  • Welcome to EL&U. Your format is fine. :) – anongoodnurse Jan 7 '14 at 23:04

"lovers' in-joke" is probably simple enough

  • Consider that "lovers" can imply a sexual relationship. – Preston Jan 7 '14 at 22:35
  • 2
    I'm not sure that's any issue. It is specified as romantic in the original post. – Oldcat Jan 7 '14 at 22:38
  • Sure. Just noting. – Preston Jan 7 '14 at 22:38

Consider using "lovers'". It has some precedent as a non-arbitrary adjective in this context as in, eg., "lovers' quarrel".

... it's a lovers' in-joke.


It might be considered a form of pillow talk

Intimate conversation between lovers, typically taking place in bed.

While inside jokes may take place anywhere, the type you describe come from shared, intimate experiences.

While pillow talk is a noun phrase, it could be used adjectivally, as in

Don't try to understand what Joanne said to George, it's a pillow talk joke.


I would just say that it's a "relationship in-joke" or a "marriage in-joke", depending on their marital status. Or I would just say, "It's an in-joke between them".

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