Every once in a while, a show comes along that redefines how we watch TV and the ways in which we talk about it. The Bachelor franchise, which debuted more than 15 years ago in March 2002, is one such show. Average Joe’s (and we don’t just mean those of the Grocery Store Joe variety) and Jane’s (or perhaps more fittingly, Lauren’s) come out of the woodwork to vie for the love and attention of the titular bachelor or bachelorette. For those who are longtime residents of Bachelor Nation, a lot of regular, everyday phrases like “journey” or “cocktail party” have taken on new meaning over the years, but for those who have been intrigued yet dubious about the hot mess of drama, tears, and redemption that is the Bachelor franchise, these words don’t hold quite the same weight.
So here, ahead of Colton Underwood’s likely drama-filled season of The Bachelor, we’ve pulled together some of the most frequently used phrases in the show’s history, as well as a few more nuanced phrases for the Bachelor pros. Break out the sparkling rosé, prepare yourself for some major eye rolls and head shakes, and get ready, as host Chris Harrison would say, for what is bound to be the most dramatic terms glossary in Bachelor history.
Bachelor Brackets: A super serious (or supremely un-serious) undertaking by groups of Bachelor fans and their significant others to place bets on the “drama, twists, turns, and eliminations” of each season, for real, hard-earned cash or simply pride and glory. Nothing quite like cashing in on the love lives of strangers!
Bachelor Nation: The catch-all phrase that defines Bachelor superfans who proudly host watch parties, invest serious time and money in Bachelor Brackets (see above), and enjoy listening to podcasts like Rose Buds, Bachelor Party, or The Ben & Ashley I. Almost Famous Podcast in order to process and discuss what they just watched the night before. See also: Watch Back. Sometimes believed to refer to Bachelor contestants and alum as opposed to fans, but often used interchangeably.
Cocktail Party: An occasion for all the remaining contestants to dress up in their most elegant best, from skin-tight bandeau dresses to chicken suits to shark costumes. A time for the ladies and gentlemen, as it were, to imbibe heavily and attempt to “steal” the titular bachelor or bachelorette away for some solo chat and smooch time. Also a time for drama to unleash itself in the form of drunken confrontations between contestants.
Falling In Love: The Bachelor way for contestants to confess their love for their paramour without completely investing their heart and soul into a weeks-long relationship on national television. Usage: “I can definitely see myself falling in love with him;” “I am without a doubt falling in love with her;” “I’m falling in love with you.” Not something that bachelors or bachelorettes are historically allowed to say back to their suitors (though there have definitely been exceptions, i.e. Ben Higgins’ infamous faux pas confessing his love to two different women).
Fantasy Suite: A euphemistic phrase used to refer to one of the only times the cameras aren’t trained on the bachelor/bachelorette and his/her three finalists. Also known as when the bachelor/bachelorette “seals the deal,” “gets intimate,” or plainly put, “has sex” with his/her finalists in a last bid to “get to know” them. Always kicks off with a card and awkwardly worded invitation from Chris Harrison at dinner, ends with scenes of oft-robed bachelors/bachelorettes and contestants sipping coffee and smiling off into the distance the next morning.
Final Rose: The suspenseful last pick during any given Rose Ceremony, an occasion that is announced with fanfare by otherwise oft-absent host Chris Harrison, who enjoys saying “the final rose” in a dramatic tone of voice, with clasped hands and a knowing look cast toward the bachelor/bachelorette. Most often reserved for controversial contestants or those whom the bachelor/bachelorette is “testing” in some way.
First Impression Rose (FIR): A rose given to the suitor who catches the bachelor/bachelorette’s eye on the first night at The Mansion. Those who receive a First Impression Rose have a track record of also making it far in the competition, if not just winning the season altogether. (See: Becca and Garrett, Kaitlyn and Shawn, JoJo and Jordan, and Rachel and Bryan.) Important to note, also, that those who arrive in costume seldom get the FIR, though it’s not for lack of effort.
Frontrunner: The suitor in the competition who seems like the most grounded, “real” person of the bunch, and who looks to have made a genuine connection with the bachelor/bachelorette in a way that gives viewers a reason to truly believe in love. Alternately, the known Villain from that season who has managed to weasel his/her way into the good graces of the bachelor/bachelorette in a way that makes viewers frustrated and hate-watch the show while scoffing at the bachelor/bachelorette’s blissful ignorance.
Group Date: A more lighthearted sort of date, often involving 8-10 contestants vying for screen time whilst completing in humiliating and frequently physical challenges, including but not limited to: skiing in bikinis (Ben Flanjik’s season); mud wrestling (Rachel Lindsay’s season); telling their most intimate sex stories to a room full of strangers (JoJo Fletcher’s season); swimming with wild pigs (Ben Higgins’ season); and a demolition derby (Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season).
“Here For the Wrong Reasons” (HFTWR): One of the most popular catchphrases in the Bachelor lexicon. Used frequently by contestants in reference to a fellow contestant who is backstabbing, two-faced, or otherwise clearly trying to dupe the bachelor/bachelorette, producers, and others to leverage fame, more Instagram followers, or a chance to return to the franchise via Bachelor in Paradise. (Or, if you’re Nick Viall, make waves on The Bachelorette twice, star as The Bachelor once, frolic in the sea and break hearts on Bachelor in Paradise, and then boogie down on Dancing With the Stars).
Hometowns: An episode that airs toward the latter half of the season, in which four finalists get the chance to show off their bachelor/bachelorette to their often skeptical families. Frequently involves joyful family dinners followed by tense one-on-one interactions between the suitor and various family members or the bachelor/bachelorette and his/her family members. Can be the make-or-break event for certain contestants, and in the case of The Bachelorette, is often the time when the finalists muster their courage and ask the bewildered father of the bachelorette for her hand in marriage.
In the Moment (ITM): On-camera confessionals during which contestants tell viewers (read: producers) how they’re feeling about a given situation, fellow contestant, or even the bachelor/bachelorette him/herself. Oftentimes involves tears, anger, outrageous statements (everyone remembers Corinne’s “platinum vagine” quote), and plenty of blooper-reel fodder.
Journey: Another way to talk about the whirlwind chaos that is the Bachelor contestants’ road to love, stability, family, and [allegedly] forever. A good term to use in a Bachelor-themed drinking game, as in, “take a sip every time someone says the word ‘journey.’” Drunken shenanigans ensue.
Lauren, Chris: Two of the Bachelor franchise’s most popular names. In any given season, there are also usually at least a handful of Lindsey’s, Jennifer’s, John’s, and Brian’s. On Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s recent Bachelor season, of the 23 women vying for his heart, four were named Lauren (spoiler alert: he’s marrying a Lauren this coming January, though she wasn’t the original winner on his season).
Limos: Where it all begins. The first night of each season opens with the men and women arriving to The Mansion in a handful of limos, often with the contestants squealing and exclaiming over how hot, handsome, beautiful, and gorgeous their target — er, potential partner — is.
The Mansion: The shorthand (though not by much!) way of referring to the Bachelor mansion, the now-infamous Malibu home where the ladies and gentlemen of the franchise first arrive, and where they proceed to spend weeks on end without contact with the outside world. Comes with a giant pool, cabanas for gossiping, and plenty of lounge spaces to perch with a glass of wine and spill your feelings to fellow contestants.
One-on-one: The most coveted sort of date, in which one contestant is hand-selected from the bunch for a romantic date with the bachelor/bachelorette. Often involves some sort of exciting, adrenaline-fueled endeavor (climbing iconic buildings, deep-sea diving, or riding ATVs) followed by a calm, intimate dinner, during which no one eats. A rose is always up for grabs on a one-on-one date, and the bachelor/bachelorette has the option of presenting the rose to their selected contestant or sending him/her immediately home.
Rose Ceremony: The nail-biting end to each week’s episode (although in later seasons the ceremony has sometimes popped up at random times), during which one or several of the remaining contestants are sent home amid tears, frustration, and sometimes-cordial hugs. Involves dramatic music, solemn expressions, and likely a few nervous sips from a flask or two as the contestants await their fate. Often follows the Cocktail Party, though some bachelors/bachelorettes prefer to cut to the chase and skip straight to the Rose Ceremony instead.
#SponCon: Short for “sponsored content.” A more recent development in the Bachelor world, in which current and past Bachelor contestants use their newfound fame to promote everything from healthy drinks and teas to teeth whitening to subscription gift box services. A great way to bank on Bachelor fame after the fact. Just make sure to hashtag “ad” after each caption.
Two-on-one: The most dreaded of all Bachelor dates, in which the bachelor/bachelorette selects two contestants to essentially duke it out in the most awkward date setup possible, with the end goal of eliminating one (or both!) of the contestants by the end of the night. Most frequently comes up when there are two contestants who are feuding or polar opposites, and have yet somehow both caught the attention of the bachelor/bachelorette. Famous recent examples include Corinne and Taylor (Nick Viall’s season); Krystal and Kendall (Arie Luyendyk Jr.’s season); Lee and Kenny (Rachel Lindsay’s season); and Kelsey and Ashley I. (Chris Soules’ season).
Villain: Every show needs its villains, and The Bachelor franchise is no different. Villains on The Bachelor tend to be men and women who are “Here For the Wrong Reasons” (HFTWR) and therefore trying to instigate fights amongst contestants, stoke jealousy with the frontrunner, and/or otherwise create chaos for those contestants who are there for the right reasons. Memorable villains include: Krystal, Corinne, Courtney, Tierra, Juan Pablo, Lee, DeMario.
“Watch Back”: A phrase frequently used by host Chris Harrison and podcast hosts alike in reference to rewatching an especially emotional, poignant, painful, or awkward scene from the previous night’s episode. Used often as part of a question, as in, “How did it feel to watch that episode back?” i.e. after Becca Kufrin’s unapologetically awkward split from Arie Luyendyk Jr. at the end of Season 22.