Polyamory is a modern concept in Western society, the term “poly-amory” was coined by Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart and first published in 1992. The English language lacks many terms for polyamorous concepts, resulting in poly people/communities creating their own terminology. Some of these terms are listed below:

Cellular Family:  A family of three or more adults (and optionally children) who live together or near one another, and consider themselves to be part of a single family.

Compersion: A feeling of joy when a partner invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship.

Cowboy:  A monogamous man who engages in a relationship with a polyamorous woman with the intention of separating her from any other partners and bringing her into a monogamous relationship.

Dyad: A relationship involving exactly two people.

Ethical slut:  A person who openly chooses to have multiple simultaneous sexual relationships in an ethical and responsible way, and who openly revels in that decision.

Fluid bonding: Of or related to practices which involve the exchange of bodily fluids, such as barrier-free sexual intercourse and BDSM (e.g. blood play)

Free agent:  A person who practices polyamory in a way that tends to separate or isolate all of his or her romantic relationships from one another, treating each as a separate entity.

Metamour: (Literally, meta with; about + amor love): The partner of one’s partner, with whom one does not share a direct sexual or loving relationship.

New Relationship Energy (NRE): A strong, almost giddy feeling of excitement and infatuation common in the beginning of any new romantic relationship.

NRE junkie: Usually derogatory A term sometimes applied, often dismissively, to a person who starts many new relationships in rapid succession but does not seem to maintain relationships for very long.

One penis policy: An arrangement within a polyamorous relationship in which a man is allowed to have multiple female partners, each of whom is allowed to have sex with other women but forbidden to have any other male partners.

Other significant other (OSO):  A person’s partner, sometimes but not always a non- primary or non-spouse partner.

Pivot:  In a vee relationship, the person who has two partners.

Polyamory: the practice of, or desire for, intimate relationships involving more than two people, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved.

Polycule: A romantic network, or a particular subset of relationships within a romantic network, whose members are closely connected.

Polyfidelity: (Literally, poly many + fidelitas faithfulness) A romantic or sexual relationship which involves more than two people, but which does not permit the members of that relationship to seek additional partners outside the relationship, at least without the approval and consent of all the existing members.

Polysaturated: Polyamorous, but not currently open to new relationships or new partners because of the number of existing partners, or because of time constraints that might make new relationships difficult.

Primary/Secondary: A polyamorous relationship structure in which a person has multiple partners who are not equal to one another in terms of interconnection, emotional intensity, intertwinement in practical or financial matters, or power within the relationship.

Quad: A polyamorous relationship involving four people, each of whom may or may not be sexually and emotionally involved with all the other members.

Relationship Anarchy: A philosophy or practice in which people are seen as free to engage in any relationships they choose, spontaneity and freedom are desirable and necessary traits in healthy relationships, no relationship should be entered into or restricted from a sense of duty or obligation, any relationship choice is (or should be) allowable, and in which there is not necessarily a clear distinction between “partner” and “non-partner.”

Solo Poly: An approach to polyamory that emphasizes agency and does not seek to engage in relationships that are tightly couple-centric.

Triad: A polyamorous relationship composed of three people, with each person being romantically and/or sexually involved with the other two partners.

Unicorn:  Almost always used of a hypothetical woman who is willing to date both members of an existing couple, agree not to have any relationships other than the ones with the couple, agree not to be sexually involved with one member of the couple unless the other member of the couple is also there, and/or agree to move in with the couple. So named because people willing to agree to such arrangements are vanishingly rare, whereas couples looking for a woman who will agree to these terms are incredibly common.

Vee:  A polyamorous relationship involving three people, in which one person is romantically or sexually involved with two partners who are not romantically or sexually involved with each other.

Veto: A relationship agreement, most common in prescriptive primary/secondary relationships, which gives one person the power to end another person’s additional relationships, or in some cases to disallow some specific activity, such as some specific sexual or BDSM related activity.

Wibble: A feeling of insecurity, typically temporary or fleeting, when seeing a partner being affectionate with someone else.

All definitons sourced from