21 More Lesbian Slang Terms You’ve Probably Never Heard Before

Three years ago we published 20 Lesbian Slang Terms You’ve Never Heard Before, which introduced y’all to the terms Bambi-Sexuality, “Make Scissors of Someone,” Kiki, Desperation Number, Bumper-to-Bumper, Funch, Johnson Bar, Janey, Kissing Fish, Daddle, Gillette Blade, Luke, Missionary Work, Hold a Bowling Ball, Cantonese Groin, Dishonorable discharge, Molly Dyke, Slcaks, Tit King and Muffer.

Yet, a whole world of additional queer and lesbian slang terms you’ve never heard of does indeed exist. The previous post was constructed with the help of the 1989 Alyson Almanac‘s “Dictionary of Slang and Historical Terms.”

This list was constructed using glossaries and lists from two books published in 1996:

The Lesbian Almanac, a production of The National Museum and Archive of Lesbian and Gay History.

So You Want To Be a Lesbian?, by Liz Tracey and Sydney Pokorny. (If the definition is from this book, the number for that term on the list is in bold.)

I’d like to state for the record that the former I purchased at The Haunted Bookshop in Iowa City and the latter (which I believe was invented for the sole purpose of being given as a gag gift) I found in my Mom’s basement this morning.

1. FAIRY LADY: “In the mid-1990s, a lesbian bottom.”

2. VULVA HANDS: “A gesture used in lesbian gatherings during the 1980s, probably originating in the women’s peace camp at Greenham Common in England and continuing at the Seneca Women’s Peace Encampment in upstate New York, and indicating the strength of lesbian sexuality. The two forefingers and thumbs were placed together to form a triangle, and then the hands were held over the head in the air. Some lesbian jewelry still employs the image of vulva hands.”

3. FRIG: “In lesbian sex, to finger fuck or stroke a woman’s genitals.”

4. LUPPIES: “Lesbian yuppies.”

5. STIRRING THE BEAN CURD: “English translation of a Chinese term for the lesbian sexual act of finger-fucking.”

6. SERGEANT: “In the mid-1990s, a butch lesbian.”

7. COMADRES: “In Chicano/Chicana communities of the American Southwest, two unmarried women who live together in a close relationship, as in Boston marriage or romantic friendship; in English translation, comothers.”

8. FUSION: “In lesbian love relationships, an intense intimacy between the two partners that causes them to be over-involved in each other. The result is that the differences between the two seem to be lessened, and each partner’s ability to maintain and independent identity is weakened. Often blamed for lesbian bed death, or loss of sexual desire. Also called merging.”

9. CELEBUDYKE: “A lesbian who is famous or near-famous for doing almost nothing. Ingrid Casares, who is known primarily because she has dated her way through the lesbian elite, is a prime example. On a local level can refer to a dyke on the scene, whether activist or club hopper, who everybody knows.”

10. PRIMARY LESBIAN: “A woman who experiences her lesbianism as innate or biologically determined, rather than as chosen or elected.”

11. JAM: “Mid-century slang for straight people.”

12. CRONE: Derogatory term for old, witchlike woman, reclaimed by 1970s feminists as proud names for older lesbians.

13. GIRLSLOTH: “A lesbian slacker”

14. ZAP/ZAP ACTION: “A form of direct action intended to be loud, quick, and shoy, to capture media attention.”

15. DYKE TYKE: “Men, sometimes gay, sometimes straight, who perpetually hang out with lesbian friends, and aspire to lesbianism as a higher consciousness.”

16. JACK AND JILL PARTY: “In the late 1980s, a circle jerk (group masturbation party) that welcomed gay men and lesbians, who occasionally had sex with one another.”

17. GLAMOUR DYKE: “A lesbian for whom fashion, elegance and glamour are important aspects of personal style and expression.”

18. LESBIAN THOUGHT POLICE: “Extreme political correctness, based on the idea that there is one certain way that all lesbians should think. A lesbian who feels guilt about her S/M sexual fantasies, for example, might joke that she is going to be hunted down by the lesbian thought police.”

19. PANCAKE: “Among African-American lesbians in the 1950s, a butch who allowed herself to be flipped (from “top” to “bottom”).”

20. GALIMONY: “Descriptive term for what is owed to the ‘divorced’ partner of a rich/famous lesbian, generally in the act of suing for same. Coined when Billie Jean King and her former lover became the test case.”

21. RUNNING-SHOE LESBIAN: “Lesbians, usually over thirty-five, who wear jogging shoes with everything (also called a yuppie dyke).”

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Riese is the 40-year-old Co-Founder and CEO of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3020 articles for us.


  1. Oh. My. God. Upon reading this together, my cute girlfriend and I have decided that she is a sergeant and I am a Molly dyke (appearing on the first lesbian slang list, meaning “The more passive woman in a lesbian relationship or liaison”). It’s funny because HER name is Molly and MY last name is Sargent. This coincidence is too amazing not to share with the lesbian universe.

  2. Ay… “Comadres” is one of those words that my family slings around casually now and then, like in reference to some demure señoras my sister and I know from the church choir (they’re not technically our godmothers, but hey). I’m already bracing myself for the next time someone says it…

    A couple of years ago, when my grandfather looked over at my grandma and I and asked us “¿cómo están mis tortilleras?” (how are my tortilla-makers/lesbians?), I just stood there dumbfounded before I remembered that we were actually rolling out tortillas, and so he was not saying that he thought she (?!) and I (still questioning at that point and not out to anyone) were lesbians!

    • My favorite slang-based misunderstanding ever is when some of my partner’s Bolivian family members were watching a Spanish language news station that featured a story on women workers in a Mexican tortilla factory who were fighting for unionization. There were banners that read “TORTILLERAS UNIDAS.” This produced a beautiful moment of confusion – ‘wait, the lesbians are unionizing?”

    • The problem with the word “tortillera”, used in almost all spanish-speaking countries, is that it’s a derogatory term.

      It’s not a word I would particularly like to “own”, like let’s say queer, once upon a time a derogatory term.

      And I have a scar on my face that clearly shows how much I hate the word.

  3. I just read Tipping the Velvet, and picked up some new Victorian slang!

    Quim- vulva.

    Example from book: “My quim- in the clever way of quims- was still quite slippery from the passion of the night before.”

    Frigstress- A woman who pleasures herself (aka frigs herself).

    Example from book: “We thought you must’ve turned frigstress, in your little cell. That you must’ve frigged yourself until your cunt was sore.”

    Tom- A tomboyish lesbian, or a lesbian who makes a career out of being a lesbian. Used like the word “dyke” in the Victorian era, but was recorded as early as the 1570s meaning “a bold or immodest woman,” or “a girl who acts like a spirited boy”.

    Tipping the Velvet- Cunnilingus

  4. oMG!! I have been shopping at the Haunted Book since 1980 ! First at the house facing College Green Park and then all the other locs …. such a fabulous book store :) :) :) LOVE it and both of the owners ( Rock was my neighbor). You lived here ??? wow ….

  5. In roller derby the hand signal for an official review is making an ‘o’ with your hands, however, a lot of people are lazy and end up doing vagina hands. Being at tournaments where there’s one crew of officials watching the other at all times has made me very concious of how I signal official reviews.

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