17 Romance Genre Vocab Words You Need to Know

Romance writers and readers speak in a secret language. How good is your romance genre vocab?

Do you know the best MC novels starring a BBW character with a HEA? What the heck does that all mean?

I feel your confusion. I’ve been through the same issue as I venture through the romance community. Here are 17 romance genre vocab words you need to know:

1. Clean Romance

Clear romance: the opposite of 50 Shades of Grey. No whips and chains in these titles!

Think warm, fuzzy Christmas romantic comedies you’ll find on the Hallmark channel. These are clean romances. There are no explicit sex scenes, highly dangerous situations, none of that.

Inspirational and Amish romances are huge in the clean romance department.

If you’re in the mood for sweet and wholesome love stories, this genre is the perfect match for you.


A Hopeful Heart (Hearts of the Lancaster Grand Hotel #1) by Amy Clipston

Capturing the Viscount’s Heart by Abby Ayles

Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks

The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers

The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

2. BBW

How come the skinny gal always gets the guy? It’s like high school all over again. Big girls deserve a happily ever after too. BBW stands for “Big Beautiful Woman.”


Big Girls Do It Better (Big Girls Do It #1)  by  Jasinda Wilder

Her Purrfect Match (Paranormal Dating Agency #3) by Milly Taiden

Making Changes by Lila Rose

Muffin Top (The Hartigans #2)  by Avery Flynn

The Red Scot (Curvy Girls’ Club #1) by Twyla Turner


Now here’s a genre closer to the 50 Shades realm. Actually, much better than it. You’ll receive horrified looks if you mention 50 Shades in the real BDSM community.

BDSM represents:

  • Bondage & Discipline
  • Domination & Submission
  • Sadism & Masochism

If you’re up for reading books filled with pleasure and a sprinkle of pain (or a whole load), hook up with BDSM.


Bared to You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (Sleeping Beauty Trilogy #1) by Anne Rice (aka Anne Roquelaure)

The Siren (Original Sinners #1) by Tiffany Reisz

The Story of O by Pauline Reage

Submissive (The Submissive Series #1) by Tara Sue Me


While you may find love stories between two different races categorized as interracial, there’s a collection of books known as BWWM aka “Black Woman, White Man.”

Honestly, I didn’t know this was an actual trend, but hey, here we are!


Dipping into Sin (Dipping into Sin #1) by DJ Parker

First Love by Tiya Rayne

Game, Set, Match (Love Match #1) by Nana Malone

The Minotaur’s Kiss (Gods and Concubines #1) by Erin St. Charles

The Wedding Date (Wedding Date #1) by Jasmine Guillory

5. Dark Romance

You have romance with a healthy combination of rainbows, cuddles, and a bit of conflict. Dark romance is nothing like that. This genre is not for the romantic faint of heart.

Dark romances usually include a-hole anti-heroes, stressful situations, and a boatload of heartache. You’ll still have your happy ending(somewhat).

With these books, you’ll have to tread through glass barefoot first to the happily ever after.


Captive in the Dark  (The Dark Duet #1) by CJ Roberts

Monster in His Eyes (Monster in His Eyes #1) by J.M. Darhower

Raw by Belle Aurora

Raze (Scarred Souls #1) by Tillie Cole

Twist Me (Twist Me #1) by Anna Zaires

6. Erotica

Erotica takes the sex scenes to a whole new level compared to your regular romance novel.  Erotica’s intent is to turn you on. That’s that!


Addicted by Zane

Gabriel’s Inferno  (Gabriel’s Inferno #1) by Sylvain Reynard

Submission by Cherie Feather

This Man (The Man #1) by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Unmasqued (Seduced Classics #1) by Colette Gale

7. HEA

HEA is the abbreviation for “Happily Ever After.” Want a romance novel with a happy ending? You got it!

Books labeled HEA are guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face (unlike Romeo & Juliet).


Easy (Contours of the Heart #1) by Tammara Weber

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Masked Innocence by Alexandra Torre

Shine Not Burn (Shine Not Burn #1) by Elle Casey

Someone to Watch Over Me  (Bow Street #1) by Lisa Kleypas


Books labeled LGBTQ stands for “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, and Queer.” For gay romances, you may find books labeled m/m and f/f for lesbians.

Love for everyone!


Gravity Between Us by Kristen Zimmer

Love Me Tomorrow by Ethan Day

Romancing the Inventor (Supernatural Society #1) by Gail Carriger

Starting from Scratch (Housemates #5) by Jay Northcote

Try (Temptation #1) by Ella Frank

9. MC

MC simply stands for “Motorcycle Club.”

I didn’t know bikers was a huge trend in the romance community until I discovered the Amazon listings. I guess we all need a bad boy with a motorcycle once in our lives (or more).


Judgment Road (Torpedo Ink #1) by Christine Feehan

Own the Wind (Chaos #1) by Kristen Ashley

Ravage Me (Ravage MC #1) by Ryan Michele

Reaper’s Property (Reapers Motorcycle Club #1) by Joana Wylde

Storm (Storm MC #1) by Nina Levine

10. MFM

Image result for mfm relationships gif

MFM is a Male/Female/Male relationship where the men are not together in the relationship (no touching). Think two brothers and one woman or two best guy friends with their gal.


Arson and Ache (Surrender to Them #8) by Kelli Callahan

Dirty Therapy (Dirty #1) by Tara Crescent

Her Billionaire Bosses by Samantha Twinn

Only You (The Only #1) by Vivian Ward

Twin Tempt by Jess Bentley

11. MMF

Image result for mmf relationships gif

MMF is a Male/Male/Female relationship. Usually, the men in this menage are into each other as well as with their lady.


Back Home by Nicole Stewart

Mine by Chloe Lynn Ellis

Night is Darkest  (Men in Blue #1) by Jayne Rylon

The Royal’s Pet by Adora Crooks

The Thing About Us by Jennifer Domenico

12. MPreg

Image result for mpreg gif

The first time I’ve ever heard of MPreg I was teen reading Lord of the Rings fanfiction. Legolas (remember the elf guy) was pregnant with Aragorn’s baby. Yes, ARAGORN’S baby.

MPreg is “Male Pregnancy.” It’s a common theme I ’ve found in gay paranormal omegaverse titles.


Alpha’s Sacrifice (Irresistible Omegas #1) by Nora Phoenix

Country Passion by Aiden Bates

King’s Conquest (Mending the Rift #1) by Valentina Heart

The Omega’s Secret Baby (Oceanport Omegas #1) by Ann-Katrin Byrde

Sacred Fate (Chronicles of Ylandere #1) by Eresse

13. New Adult

New adult titles target readers from ages 18-30. The stories usually follow young adults (after high school) venturing through the first events in adulthood such as college and their first jobs.

New adult romance is like the big sister of little YA (young adult) romances.


After (After #1) by Anna Todd

Better With You (Bragan University #1) by Gianna Gabriela

Fallen Too Far (Rosemary Beach #1) by Abbi Glines

Misadventures of a College Girl (Misadventures #1) by Lauren Rowe

Slammed  (Slammed #1) by Colleen Hoover

14. Omegaverse

Omegaverse is another term I’m familiar with thanks to fanfiction. These stories feature three types of characters: the alpha, the beta, and the omega.

The alphas are the leaders of the pack. They’re super-dominant and protective. Depending on their character, they can be quite arrogant or downright sweet.

Betas are in between the status of alphas and omegas. They can only have children with other betas, no omegas. They’re not found in many omegaverse stories. Most titles only include alphas and omegas.

Omegas are at the bottom of the omegaverse social hierarchy. They’re the nurturing, motherly archetypes. They’re always looking up to alphas for protection and care (especially when they go into heat).


Crave to Conquer (Myth of Omega #1) by Zoey Ellis

Lodging the Alpha’s Omega (Alpha Omega Lodge #1) by Emma Knox

Omega (Demon Chaser #1) by Charlene Hartnady

The Human Omega by J.L. Wilder

When an Alpha Purrs (A Lion’s Pride #1) by Eve Langlais

15. OMYW

OMYW means “older man, younger woman.” For consent’s sake, these books usually have an 18-year old protagonist with a much older man. None of that Lolita stuff here!


A Place Without You by Jewel E. Ann

Balance by Lucia Franco

Give In by Layla Frost

Rush (The Breathless #1) by Maya Banks

Wanting Mr. Cane (Cane #1) by Shanora Williams

16. Reverse Harem

A regular harem is one man with multiple female lovers. In reverse harem, it’s one female with multiple male love interests.  Numbers of lovers can range from three to six (what I’ve seen) depending on the title.


Capturing Their Mate by Piper Stone

Don’t Rush Me (Nora Jacobs #1) by Jackie May

The Lioness Of Egypt (The Shifters of Africa #1) by Leigh Anderson & Alice Wilde

Power of Lies (The Dark Orchid #1) by Auryn Hadley

Queen Takes Knights (Their Vampire Queen #1) by Joely Sue Burkhart

17. WWBM

Remember BWWM? WWBM stands for “White Woman, Black Man.”


Baller (Fight Night #3) by Simone Scarlet MMA

The Frozen by Michel Prince

Undressing Mercy by Deanna Lee

War Bride (The Chained #2) by Elise Marion

Wednesday Nights with Jamie by Daisy Dexter Dobbs


Now you know which romance genres are which thanks to the vocab list provided. When someone asks you if you have a favorite BBW MC omegaverse dark romance series, you can point out which one you prefer.

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(Gifs: GIPHY)


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