As if modern dating wasn’t already complicated, here’s a new term to muddle it even further.

“Paper clipping” is the newest trend taking over the dating scene. It’s when an ex contacts you months after ghosting you – almost like Clippy, the Microsoft assistant who appears when you need help with a task but you’ve already figured it out on your own, according to Metro UK.

An American artist based in Brooklyn reportedly inspired the phrase with a cheeky illustration.

“Who remembers Clippy? Well he’s here to make sure you don’t forget him,” artist Samantha Rothenberg captioned a playful graphic she shared to Instagram last month.

“A paper clipper revels in getting a reaction, whether that’s positive or negative. They just want attention from you to prove you’re still bothered,” Fox News reports. 

“They’re the ultimate dating trolls and the moment you respond, silently seethe or spend hours analysing their message, they’re winning.”

Samantha’s original post has received more than 15 000 likes, with users revealing the paper clippers in their own lives, New York Post reports.

“Sounds like my ex,” one user wrote.

“Clippy! I’m dealing with one now,” another added.

“Yup, every two to three weeks . . .” one lamented.

“He was like a roach you couldn't kill,” another agreed.

“Paper clipping” isn’t the only dating term doing the rounds this year. Here’s a glossary of a few modern dating expressions and their meanings:

Trickle ghosting - when someone you’re talking to slows their communication with you to only once every few days. 

Cloaking – this is ghosting on steroids. When you’re stood up for a date and blocked on all communication platforms.

Pocketing - when your significant other has built a wall between you and their family which probably means they don’t see a future with you.

Cookie jarring - when you keep stringing someone along to use as a backup.

You-turning – when you fall head over heels for someone too fast and realise that this is a red flag so you make a run for it.

Sources: Metro UK, Fox News, New York Post