You friend promised to meet you, but he didn't turn up. Or a boy promised to pick a girl up at school but she waited and waited but he didn't come.

This happens in many situations but we often see it in a couple who are in love.

In Vietnamese, we say "the girl got climbed up a tree by the boy". In some Vietnamese-English dictionary, it says "the girl got stood up by the boy"

What is the phrase expressing that someone promised to meet you, but then canceled the meeting without telling you in advance?

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    if someone promised to meet you, and failed to turn up, and did not contact you to say they would not be coming, we can say they stood you up. They didn't 'cancel the meeting' really, because to do that they would have had to contact you to tell you. They just failed to go to the meeting place. Commented May 5, 2023 at 13:22
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    Canceling the meeting without telling you isn't "canceling" at all. Commented May 7, 2023 at 5:26
  • @JohnGordon - or 'cancelling' in the BritSphere. Commented May 7, 2023 at 12:24
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    "In Vietnamese, we say 'the girl got climbed up a tree by the boy'." -> Funny enough, in Spanish we also use a plant-related idiom: "the boy planted the girl" (meaning the boy didn't show up).
    – walen
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 9:10

5 Answers 5


I think to stand up is exactly what you are looking for.

Mary stood me up last night. I got stood up by Mary. I hope she doesn't stand me up again. (etc.)

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    You can always live in hope, but I think it's pretty clear that Mary is a lost cause.
    – Richard
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 21:02

You could describe the missing person, or the non-existent meeting, as a no-show.

This is a slightly wider term which also applies to larger or more formal meetings:

 1. An absence; failure to show up or to make a scheduled appearance, especially at a hotel or a place of employment.
    “You must inform patients, in advance, that there is a charge for no-shows, and what that charge is.
2. (by extension) A person or group that does not show up.
     “Out of fifty people who said they would attend, we only had three no-shows.


You could say they "flaked" you or "flaked on" you. I'm not a native speaker so I had to do some research here, but apparently "a flake" (noun) is an unreliable person, who doesn't come through with a mutual agreement. I have seen "you got flaked" in writing.

According to Merriam-Webster:

flake out (informal) : to fail or neglect to do or participate in something previously scheduled, agreed upon, or assigned

He'd disappear, then text, disappear, and then text again. So it's not particularly surprising that when we finally made plans to meet he flaked without a word. —Kerensa Cadenas

often used with on

Flake on your friends too often and pretty soon your only friends will be Dharma and Greg. —Colleen Rush

Let's get him to sign his name to that before he flakes out on you! —Rhoda Janzen

  • 1
    I hope my usage of the dictionary quote doesn't break any rules. I find it's usually better to have the text you're linking to in an answer than leave just the link and risk it being broken later on.
    – Alexandre
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 9:03
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    Note: "flake" does not necessarily mean they didn't notifying you beforehand. E.g. "he flaked at the last minute"
    – Matthias
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 1:52
  • 2
    @Alexandre including quotes is encouraged on Stack Exchange for exactly that reason.
    – MJD
    Commented May 8, 2023 at 3:09

You could also say that the person 'ghosted' you.

This implies that they didn't show up and also didn't give a reason for their absence. This is a more colloquial term which I believe has only come into use relatively recently.

However, although I've often seen this word used to refer to simply not showing up for something (e.g. a job interview), it can also mean "suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation", which seems a lot more extreme than the scenario you described. In fact, both references below still list this as the primary definition.

Sources: https://www.dictionary.com/browse/ghosting


EDIT: See Jack Aidley's comment for why this might not be the best word to use if context doesn't make your intended meaning clear!

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    Ghosting is more generally not responding to contact, not merely not showing up when you said you would on a particular occasion. Commented May 6, 2023 at 8:34
  • @JackAidley That was the intent of my 3rd paragraph, to clarify that this word often has 'heavier' connotations than just a missed meeting. Maybe I didn't make that clear enough in my answer. I have also heard the term used casually though, and in my opinion (I may be mistaken) the expression is gaining scope and losing some of its original 'impact' over time. Like the coffee shop example in this New York Times article: nytimes.com/2019/01/22/smarter-living/… Commented May 6, 2023 at 20:42
  • Of course the tone of the person using it and the context of the conversation make all the difference, and when a harsher word is being used playfully for comic exaggeration, that doesn't necessarily carry over to text. I edited my answer to point to your top comment. Commented May 6, 2023 at 20:50
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    @QuackE.Duck I think the NYT is aware it's being a little bit loose with the term in that instance. I wouldn't call that incident ghosting, except for the bit about '... the barista calling his name, over and over.' In OP's situation it fits if after the meeting was supposed to take place, OP tried to contact the friend (or the girl tried to contact the boy) and the friend (or boy) repeatedly doesn't respond to the email, answer the phone/sms etc.
    – mcalex
    Commented May 7, 2023 at 11:37

They "no-showed" you. It also works as a noun: They were a no-show.

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    Someone already posted "no-show" as an answer and "no-show" as a verb sounds odd. Commented May 7, 2023 at 20:29
  • I have heard "no-show" used as a verb several times: "Did she no-show you again?" "He no-showed me so our plans fell through." Commented May 9, 2023 at 12:46

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