What does "hook up with" mean?

I’ve been youtubing around, and among older teenagers and 20-something’s I hear the phrase “hook up with,” or “they hooked up.”

Sometimes it means “met,” but other times I have the distinct feeling it means (overnight?) casual sex. It is distinct from meeting for a date, which is another phrase, which I can’t remember now.

Kids these days. I hate being reminded how much closer I am to really thinking about mortality.

It really harshes my buzz, man.

It means sex but also a relationship, hooked up implies something more than casual sex.

I’d have no doubt that if someone told me so and so hooked up they did not mean a platonic dinner date.

From what I understand…“hooked up with” means got together with.

It’s also used like “so and so hooked me up with…” as meant in “turned me on to.” Informed me about/introduced me to, say…a good mechanic.

yeah, it’s not limited to sex. it’s a general term referring to putting two parts together.
these parts can be two human people ("me and my client need to hook up this week for a meeting), as mentioned “introduced to” (i got hooked up with this great new church/he hooked me up to this new concept of web-surfing), or can mean parts (they hooked up ((their sexual organs//i got hooked up with a black suv ((car crash)).

i believe in the op example, it’s referring to romantic entanglement. it doesn’t per se have to refer to casual sex, as it is often said “they were hooking up for a while” as reference to two people dating (maybe it is presumed they were having sex, but that isn’t necessarily the implication of the term).

I have heard the term “hooked up” to mean have sex with but this usage was not in play when I was a teenager (I am 55). I first heard this usage around 1990, although I am not exactly on the cutting edge of pop culture so it probably started earlier than that. All the old usages are still valid, mostly to meet (in person), to communicate with, or to establish some sort of connection to, as described in posts above.

it is an old fishing phrase. if you’re using worm bait then you’ve hooked up with worms.

For what it’s worth, Paula England, a sociologist at NYU, uses a loose definition in her studies “hookup culture”. From this month’s Atlantic Monthly (bolding mine):

OED’s earliest cite for hook-up (n.) in the sexual sense is 1987, although I’m sure specialist American slang dictionaries would be able to antedate that.

For the plain sense connect with the earliest cite is 1925. None of the cites given are of person connecting with person but it’s a natural development.

If it’s a high schooler or college-age kid, I’d say it means casual sex.

If it’s an older person it could mean casual sex, meeting someone somewhere, or starting to date someone. Really you’d have to be in on the whole conversation to know for sure whether it means sex, but generally I think it means sex.

^ This

Tom Wolfe did a long essay on this in his 2001 book Hooking Up. He used it as casual sex, but I would expect its usage to drift over a decade.

In college in the mid-90s, it meant casual sex (ETA: or at least some romantic entanglement. Being college kids, we assumed sexual activities of some sort, not just a little kiss, although making out with someone could be considered “hooking up,” too.) It can be used in other context, though. Like “Let’s hook up after the game at Jimmy’s” just means “let’s meet.” “Bob and Sally hooked up last night” usually implies a sexual liason of some sort.

As always Urbandictionary.com is a good reference for this sort of thing.

[creaky old person voice] Back in my day [/creaky old person voice] (late 80s, early 90s) amongst my peer group it meant casual sex. “Jen hooked up with Mike” meant the two of them had a sexual encounter, of the non-relationship variety. A hook up could end up as a dating relationship, but it didn’t have to, and was definitely not preceded by dating.

Depends on context.

“Did you hook up with that girl last night?” - Sex

"We hooked up after the game and went to. . . " - Casual hanging out

“Jim doesn’t work here anymore, he hooked up with another firm.” - Business

“Don’t forget to hook up with your parachute before jumping out of the plane.” - Safety

IME, most older adults (say 40+) rarely use the phrase with a sexual connotation.

I’d say 25 and under, it usually means casual sex, 40+ it’s almost always non-sexual, 25-40 it can go either way and meaning depends on context.

Definitely. The second one is something I have heard a lot and definitely did not involve any shenanigans. Going by what someone said earlier, I guess that is the older usage.

Is velcro involved?

I’d put it a bit higher than 40+ for “almost always non-sexual.” I’m 37, and certainly the people who were seniors when I was a freshman in college used it in the sexual sense.

If someone’s said this and I just missed it, my apologies:

Especially among the current younger crowd, hook-up is often used as a noun - for example, “Jenny and I had a hook-up last night.” This does indicate a sexual, casual, non-relationship encounter. (Though sexual could be anything from cuddling or making out all the way up to intercourse, and the relationship might develop later.) I’ve never seen hook-up used as a noun with any other meaning.

Used as a verb (“Jenny and I hooked up last night”), you have to rely on context to know what’s meant.

When I was an undergraduate in the college band, about 15 years ago, when we went on our fall tour the tuba section always ran a betting pool on who would hook up over the course of the trip. It could mean sex, but it was really an “I know it when I see it” sort of situation: Anything that indicated a romantic or sexual connection and that was known to the tubists counted: Kissing, always making it a point to sit very close in the same seat on the bus, whatever. Note, though, that a continuation of an already-existing relationship didn’t count (though whether a relationship continued afterwards was wholly irrelevant).