What do you call the person who a cheater is with other than their significant other? Is there a word? This is hard to explain, but the person who isn't in the relationship and

the cheater cheats on their significant other with the insert word here.

It's not the person who is getting cheated on.

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    In a divorce call it is the co-respondent. – Marquis of Lorne Jan 17 '17 at 0:26
  • "Insignificant other" ? – Matthew Wilcoxson Jan 17 '17 at 17:00
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    Might be off-topic, but just feel it's interesting. In Chinese there is actually a very specific word for this person and it got popular in recent years (as more and more people are having affairs). Originally it's called "the third one(第三者)", meaning it's the third person out of the couple, and then became "little third(小三)" in pop culture. – Derek Jan 18 '17 at 0:36

Consider paramour:

a lover, especially the illicit partner of a married person.

Oxford Living Dictionaries

This word has connotations of illicitness that apply beyond the contexts of marriage. Someone in a serious relationship (but not married) might also have a paramour.

If it is a man cheating on his spouse with another woman, the go-to term is mistress:

A woman (other than the man's wife) having a sexual relationship with a married man:

Oxford Living Dictionaries

Here are some less satisfying alternatives:

First, homewrecker, which means:

[informal] A person blamed for the break-up of a marriage or long-term relationship, especially as a result of having an affair with one of the partners

Oxford Living Dictionaries

This term is slightly pejorative and skewed to the perspective of the person being cheated on, so it may not work in your context.

Second, side chick (or its variant, side piece):

The girl a guy cheats on his girlfriend with

Urban Dictionary

Both of these are rather informal, so I suspect they may not be what you're looking for.

Lastly, this person is sometimes (euphemistically) referred to as the other woman/man, with emphasis on other.

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    Shouldn't these five separate answers be posted as... Five separate answers? – kwah Jan 16 '17 at 7:25
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    @kwah definitely. What if I would upvote 3 of them but downvote 1? Do I upvote and comment? Downvote and comment? Silenus, you just destroyed the concept of voting and answer, you SE-wrecker .... – xDaizu Jan 16 '17 at 11:38
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    @kwah - I like this how it is; I'd prefer one comprehensive answer to five succinct suggestions. – J.R. Jan 16 '17 at 12:24
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    @J.R. While I accept my relatively low rep may not hold much weight here but I strongly disagree. As indicated above it is not compatible with the voting system. For instance I would upvote one of the above but there is no way to differentiate which of the many answers it applies to. If, hypothetically, my support is for the last of these (I.e. the one with the least weight given the current wording) then the only route available to support this is to create a new answer explaining this. – kwah Jan 16 '17 at 12:37
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    @kwah - There are ways to handle that; look at the comment right above yours, e.g. Moreover, posting five separate answers could be viewed as both distracting and as "rep grabbing." I think you'll find a lot of highly-upvoted answers on ELU follow this format, not merely giving one suggestion, but giving a number of possibilities with comments along with each. Perhaps you should bring this up on meta, though, and let the community debate the pros and cons there. – J.R. Jan 16 '17 at 12:55

The other woman/man. Although the "other woman" is more common than the "other man".

From M-W

(noun) a woman with whom a married man has an affair —usually used with the

"tired of being the other woman, she gave him an ultimatum: divorce his wife or take a hike"

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  • +1, I like this one better than all the options in the currently topvoted answer. – Tushar Raj Jan 17 '17 at 11:30

How about lover?


lover: A partner in a sexual or romantic relationship outside marriage: ‘I think she had a secret lover’, ‘they had been lovers for years’

Your example:

The cheater cheats on their significant other with their lover.

In context -- that is, given that one of the partners in a committed relationship is cheating on the other -- lover makes perfect sense: the cheater has, or has taken, a lover. Lover also has the advantages of being one word and gender neutral.

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  • "Lover" is not specific to cheating scenarios - per your quote it is a partner who might happen to be in an illicit relationship. – kwah Jan 16 '17 at 7:22
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    @kwah That's the way it's most often used, and it's gender neutral. The example is the OP's, unedited except for the insertion. – Richard Kayser Jan 16 '17 at 15:29

The answer most commonly used in that particular form that I can think of is mistress.


4 a : a woman other than his wife with whom a married man has a continuing sexual relationship

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  • 2
    I gave +1 but it doesn't have a male equivalent. – Stu W Jan 16 '17 at 17:16
  • Male equivalent could be a "fancy man" (it's dated though). – A E Jan 16 '17 at 18:08
  • I also upvoted this. I think the common perception is that married men "step out" much more frequently than married women, so our language hasn't come up with such a perfect word when the genders are reversed. – TecBrat Jan 17 '17 at 15:46
  • I also just saw manstress on Urban Dictionary, but have never heard it in actual use. – TecBrat Jan 17 '17 at 15:50

This started as a comment to Silenus's answer, but it got too long.

It would depend a lot on context.

If the other person is complicit in the act of cheating then Mistress is often used. Also used are other less direct, derogatory terms.

John's mistress was well aware that he was a married man.

If the other person actively seeks a relation ship with the married person, Home wrecker is used. It's important to note that in the case of Home wrecker, it's implied that the person doing the cheating is less responsible, then the person cheating in the mistress situation. How much less depends on culture and audience.

That young home wrecker Janet, enticed my husband into cheating.

Lastly, if the person with the cheater is not aware that the cheater is cheating, normal terms are often used to avoid placing blame on that person.

I feel sorry for Jake, he had no idea Susan was married.

Also point of view matters.

For example "Jake's paramour, Jill.." tends to imply that Jake was in love with Jill, though married to someone else. It would come of really odd to say that a group or more then one person had paramours. For example "All the cheating women had different paramours" really is quite odd. "Paramour" tends to imply love (originally meaning "For love").

Lover on the other hand tends to imply only a specific physical relation ship. "James's lover, Beth, met his wife today."

By contrast, you may be more sympathetic to Jake, after all he just wants to be with the woman he loves, but James needs to learn how to handle himself better.

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