court v. flirt v. date

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hhtt

Senior Member
Turkish
1. "When a male shark is courting a female, he often bites her in order to hold on to her."

Which of the following can be used instead of "courting" in the above sentence, retaining the meaning?

2. "When a male shark is flirting a female, he often bites her in order to hold on to her."

3. "When a male shark is dating a female, he often bites her in order to hold on to her."

Source: Zoobooks Sharks

Thank you.
 
  • Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Neither of the other words is suitable here.

    "Flirting" means being friendly without serious intentions. It may lead to something more serious later, but then the activity is not flirting any more.

    "Dating" is making an appointment to do something social at a specific time and place, with romantic intentions. By extension, this word is also used for the overall process that includes several specific dates. Only humans can date. Other species, including sharks, cannot.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I don't think you can use either when referring to animals (or should I say fish?).

    Anyway, "flirt" means to tease or play with someone's affections (it's flirt with, by the way), while "date" means to go out with somebody. Some species have quite elaborate courtship rituals which I supposed could be compared to 'flirting', but I don't think they're actually called that.
     

    hhtt

    Senior Member
    Turkish
    What do you think about 4." When a male shark is making advances to a female, he often bites her in order to hold on to her.

    Thank you.
     

    Oddmania

    Senior Member
    French
    It sounds to me like what an adult might say to a child in a very euphemistic educational speech about sex.

    Fuzzy Bunny made advances to Fluffy Bunny, and then they got married and went on a honeymoon. Nine months later, Fluffy Bunny gave birth to fourteen beautiful bunnies (six survived). And now that you know how it's done... don't do it, son.
    Courtship and mating are the usual words to use when talking about animals' behavior.
     
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