Slang dictionary

kittenfishing

kit-n-fish-ing ]

What does kittenfishing mean?

Based on the internet slang term catfishing, kittenfishing is the act of making oneself appear more desirable in online dating apps, especially through the use of old or edited photos and inflated profile descriptions.

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Where does kittenfishing come from?

Catfishing is the act of deceiving or swindling others by assuming a false identity or personality online. The term is taken from the 2010 documentary Catfish, which features a young man who develops an online relationship with a woman who lies about her identity, including her appearance. An MTV series Catfish: The TV Show about online dating debuted in 2012.

In 2017, the dating app Hinge created the term kittenfishing. Kittenfishing is meant to be a smaller (“baby”) version of catfishing, with a kitten being a young cat. When someone is kittenfishing, they are not assuming a full-fledged false identity as with catfishing, but they are more subtly misrepresenting themselves by making themselves look better by using old or edited photos or providing exaggerated descriptions of their qualities. The term is meant to give a name to a common and often well-intentioned phenomenon: painting oneself in a more positive light.

Following Hinge’s coinage, the term gained media attention in many outlets, such as Mashable, The Independent, and HuffPost.

Examples of kittenfishing

#blownoff This man is kittenfishing, which means he is outright lying on his profile. 50 is the new 33! 🤣
@Rellzknwzwerdz, October 11, 2019
Therein lies the problem with kittenfishing: You might lock up that first date, but by selling a decidedly off-brand version of yourself online, you run the risk of putting people off. What’s more, you’ll probably be going on more first dates but fewer second dates than if you were just being honest.
Brittany Wong, HuffPost, July 11, 2018

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Who uses kittenfishing?

There are plenty of reasons people might kittenfish. In an article about the online dating tactic, NBC noted, “Online dating is competitive, flaws are easy to hide in the virtual world and at the end of the day, we all want to be loved.” More extreme cases kittenfishing may involve the use of very old photos (in an effort to present themselves as younger or more attractive) or really stretching the truth about their work, income, personality, lifestyle, etc.

The term kittenfishing is often used in the dating pool to call out inappropriate behavior as well as in popular articles about online dating.

Other people debate what exactly qualifies as kittenfishing, wondering if seemingly innocuous behaviors (like using really flattering photo angles) should be considered misleading.

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of kittenfishing like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of kittenfishing that will help our users expand their word mastery.