For anyone who, like me, sometimes gets confused with all the acronyms being thrown around in the romance community, I figured I’d try to put together something of a list for people. These are not the totality of the acronyms you may come across, but are some of the most used ones. If you find one that is not listed here, I would love it if you could post it in the comments!

  • BDSM: Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism — A type of role-play or relationship dynamic typically found in sexual relationships usually involving restraints, the granting or relinquishing of control, and the infliction of pain depending on the relationship. 
  • BL: Boys Love — Typically used in reference to manga that contain male/male relationships. Many people use BL to refer to less explicit romance and Yaoi to refer to more 18+/explicit romance. 
  • BIPoC: Black, Indigenous, People of Color — Used in referring to the characters or author(s) of the books. 
  • DIK: Desert Island Keeper — A book you wouldn’t mind reading forever. 
  • DNF: Did Not Finish — A book you couldn’t complete. 
  • D/s: Dominant/ Submissive — A type of relationship dynamic typically found in BDSM or kink friendly books, where one character plays a dominant role in and sometimes outside the bedroom to a more submissive partner. 
  • FTB/ F2B: Fade to Black — When sexual scenes in books are not explicit in descriptions, and are included without specifics.
  • F2L: Friends to Lovers — When the couple starts out as friends before getting into a romantic relationship
  • FF: Female-Female — A relationship between two women.
  • FMC: Female Main Character — The female lead in the book. 
  • HEA: Happily Ever After — When the romance gets a happy ending.
  • HFN: Happy for Now — Usually in the context of a multi-book series where the ultimate outcome is not guaranteed, but the character’s seem to have a happy ending for now. 
  • ISO: In Search Of — Usually found on forums or chats where readers are searching for a specific kind of book to read. 
  • MC: Main Character or Motorcycle Club 
  • MF: Male-Female — A relationship between a male and female. 
  • MFM: Male-Female-Male — A menage relationship between two men and one woman. Usually does not involve a sexual relationship between the men. 
  • MMC: Male Main Character — The male lead in the book. 
  • MMF: Male-Male-Female — A relationship between two men and a woman. Will sometimes be a woman being added into an established M/M relationship, and will usually involve a sexual relationship between the men. 
  • MOC: Marriage of Convenience — A trope or relationship scenario where the couple makes a deal or arrangement to get married without a previous romantic relationship usually to help solve an issue or make their lives easier. 
  • NA: New Adult — A genre or age-range of books similar to Young Adult, but focused on the age range of 18-25. 
  • OTP: One True Pairing — A term to signify a fan’s favorite fictional pairing.
  • PNR: Paranormal Romance — A genre of romance book involving various fantasy, paranormal, or sci-fi settings. This is closely related to Urban Fantasy. 
  • RH: Reverse Harem — A relationship scenario involving one woman with multiple partners. Can sometimes be interchangeable with “why choose.” 
  • SA: Sexual Assault
  • S/M: Sadomasochism
  • TBR: To Be Read — Your list of books that you want to read. 
  • TW: Trigger Warning
  • YA: Young Adult — An age range assigned to books geared towards people aged 12-18.

~~Thanks for Reading!~~

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