Significant other

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Significant other (SO) is way of saying a person has a close relationship. Deliberately, it does not say what the relationship is.

It refers to a person's partner, but says nothing about marital status, relationship status, or sexual orientation. Similar terms, but more specific, are: sweetheart, better half, spouse, domestic partner, lover, soulmate, or life partner.

The term is now often used in invitations, such as to weddings and office parties. In correspondence from hospitals, for example, "you may be accompanied for your appointment by a significant other". "Relevant other" is another ways of saying the same thing. "Significant others" is sometimes used.

Also, in psychology, psychiatry and sociology, it may mean someone who has a big influence on the person.

The first known use of the term was in the U.S.[1][2]

References[change | change source]

  1. Sullivan, Harry Stack 1953. The interpersonal theory of psychiatry. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-00138-5
  2. Maupin, Armistead 1987. Significant others. New York: Harper & Row. ISBN 0-06-096408-1