While the term has several meanings, the most frequent usage refers to two or more people exploring whether they are romantically and/or sexually compatible by participating in dates with the other.
This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement or marriage.
Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.
This term may also refer to two or more people who have already decided they share romantic and/or sexual feelings toward each other.
These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.
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