Dictionary.com

aromantic

[ ey-roh-man-tik ]
/ ˌeɪ roʊˈmæn tɪk /
Save This Word!

adjective

noting or relating to a person who experiences little or no romantic attraction to other people.

QUIZZES

THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?

Did you ever collect all those state quarters? Put them to good use on this quiz about curious state monikers and the facts around them.
Question 1 of 8
Mississippi’s nickname comes from the magnificent trees that grow there. What is it?

Origin of aromantic

First recorded in 2010–15; a-6 + romantic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

ABOUT THIS WORD

What does aromantic mean?

An aromantic person is someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction. Being aromantic is not the same as being asexual.

Where did the term aromantic come from?

The word aromantic comes from the prefix a-, meaning “not,” and romantic, which in this context means “relating to romance.” It’s not to be confused with aromatic, which means “having an aroma; fragrant or sweet-scented; odoriferous.”

While there have been previous instances of the word, aromantic, in its sense of “not experiencing romantic attraction,” spreads in the 2000s. Romantic orientation and sexual orientation are often conflated, as is asexuality and aromanticism.

Learn more about the important differences in our article, “What Does It Mean To Be Asexual?”

How to use the term aromantic

People often get asexuality and aromanticism mixed up. While they’re similar in their lack of attraction, the domains in which lack of attraction exists are different. The distinction lies in the difference between sexual orientation and romantic orientation. A person’s romantic orientation describes a pattern (or lack thereof) of romantic attraction (like having a crush on a specific someone). A person’s sexual orientation describes a pattern (or lack thereof) of sexual attraction.

While sexual orientation usually also includes patterns of romantic attraction, noting the distinction between one’s sexual and romantic orientations can be quite useful in asexual, aromantic, and LGBTQ circles. For example, someone who identifies as solely gay generally feels romantic, emotional, and sexual attraction toward someone of the same gender. A person’s identity can be explained in terms of both their sexual and romantic orientations when it’s helpful. Some examples of where this might be useful are discussions of identities like aromantic pansexual, heteroromantic asexual, aromantic asexual, or even biromantic heterosexual.

With this model, it makes sense that a person who’s aromantic isn’t necessarily asexual. If a person who identifies as asexual can seek out romantic relationships with no sexual component on account of their romantic orientation, it’s not too much of a leap for an aromantic person to be interested in seeking out sexual relationships without a romance component because of their orientation.

Aromanticism is different from just not wanting a relationship. While people of other romantic orientations are capable of romantic attraction toward specific people, aromantic people are not. Being aromantic doesn’t preclude the possibility of having a significant relationship if a particular aromantic person wants one. The relationships that aromantic people are involved in may often instead be rooted in more platonic feelings.

A squish is the aromantic equivalent of a crush. It’s a strong desire for a close friendship or non-romantic relationship with someone. Essentially, it’s a friend-crush and it sometimes manifests with the urgency of a romantic one.

Since aromantic can be a mouthful, some people opt to shorten it to aro. This often occurs in conjunction with the collapsed version of asexual (which is ace) to form aroace or aro/ace.

More examples of aromantic:

“There is certainly nothing wrong with the media and literature trying to portray the beauty of romantic love and sexual attraction, but there is when it comes at the price or aromantic and asexual people.”
—Stephanie Farnsworth, “The face of evil: the terrible way we show aromantic and asexual identities,” The Queerness (April 23, 2016)

Note

This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

Example sentences from the Web for aromantic

Tired of Typos? Get Help Now!