I looked up the etymology of this on etymonline, but it doesn't state the origin. It only defines what it stood for. It did tell what its date of origin is however, but that isn't what I was looking for.

Can someone please tell me its origin?

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia article:

POSSLQ ( /ˈpɒsəlkjuː/) is an abbreviation (or acronym) for "Persons of Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters," a term coined in the late 1970s by the United States Census Bureau as part of an effort to more accurately gauge the prevalence of cohabitation in American households.

And Dictionary Online seems to agree, at least about users of this acronym

  • 3
    Romantic bunch those census guys!
    – mgb
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 15:39
  • 2
    @Martin - I've been using this term for years - originally ironically, and later because I found it to be the most concise way to convey the information without making any assumptions. "Roommates" implies that there is no sexual/romantic relationship; "live-in boyfriend/girlfriend" implies that there is. I made the wrong assumption once or twice in each direction before deciding to use POSSLQ as a neutral term from then on.
    – MT_Head
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 0:08

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