PUA Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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The acronym PUA is an interesting yet potentially confusing acronym. There are a few different definitions for this set of letters that could not be more different from each other. This could potentially cause a lot of confusion and bring a lack of clarity to a conversation if not everybody knows all of the definitions for PUA. 

Today, we’re going to talk about PUA and its various definitions. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to distinguish between the different definitions so clarity can abound, and you’ll be able to use the acronym yourself. Let’s get started. 

What Are the Different Meanings of PUA? 

There are two primary phrases that the acronym PUA stands for. And again, these definitions are quite different, so the word can be confusing for people who only know one or less of the definitions. Here are the two different things that PUA could stand for:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: A government program that gives financial assistance to those who lost their job due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Pickup Artist: A person who excels at attracting sexual partners 

As you can see, these two definitions don’t have anything to do with each other in the slightest. And it’s mostly by context clues that you can ascertain which definition is being invoked. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is just one aspect of the CARES Act. It provides federal unemployment benefits to people who can no longer work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This federal program is specifically designed for people who don’t qualify for state unemployment benefits. Because of the longevity of COVID, extended benefits were in place for a while, and benefits could be received until late 2021 — even after that, in certain cases. 

To receive PUA benefits, you must file an unemployment claim. Through the claim, you have to prove and certify that you meet the eligibility requirements, meaning that you lost your job as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Once a claimant completed the PUA claim, they could receive benefit payments that will help supplement their income while they could not work. 

There are two types of benefits received through this program. The first is federal pandemic unemployment compensation or FPUC. FPUC provided additional money on top of regular state unemployment payments, providing benefit amounts of up to $600 a week. 

Another benefit program is called PEUC, or pandemic emergency unemployment compensation. This program extends benefits by up to 53 weeks after the regular base period of  unemployment benefits was exhausted. This was a key part of the American Rescue Plan Act.

Pickup Artist

A pickup artist is simply somebody skilled at getting a sexual partner. They are often attractive, suave, and appealing. Because of this, they can “pick up” a lot of sexual partners. 

Where Did PUA Come From?

The phrase “pickup artist” and its abbreviation came about long before the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. So, let’s take a look at how the phrase “pickup artist” came about. 

It’s unclear where exactly the phrase first came from, but we know that it first became popular in the year 1970. During that year, a man named Eric Weber released a book that was met with extraordinary popularity titled How to Pick Up Girls.

In the book, Weber gives young men dating advice in an attempt to help coach them on how to get women. His advice consisted of many things, including the suggestion to go to peace marches to pick up hot hippie girls. 

Also in this book, Weber regularly uses the phrase “pick up artist” to describe a man who was savvy at picking up women. 

The term slowly gained popularity. It’s unclear when the phrase was broken down into the acronym PUA, but by the early 2000s, there were many online forums that either had “PUA” in the title or regularly used the abbreviation. 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

Obviously, the acronym PUA for this meaning did not come about until the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. There was no need for this PUA program before then. 

Afer the PUA was instituted, millions were kept afloat by the weekly benefits. Whether your place of employment closed, you had to self-quarantine for an extended period, or you were a self-employed independent contractor whose field took a hit, you could get financial support from the government during the pandemic. 

What Are Some Examples of PUA in a Sentence?

Here are some example sentences that use PUA for each of its different definitions. 

Without the PUA program, I would have gone bankrupt. 

I had a family member who was able to receive two weeks of unemployment while they were quarantined thanks to PUA. 

Gig workers were hit especially hard by the pandemic, so PUA was offered for more long-term assistance to them. 

I needed additional information on PUA when I thought I had COVID, but it was actually just the flu. 

I get most of my dating advice from the PUA forums, and it has been working well for me.

This guy claims to be a proper PUA, but when you see him in action, he’s just goofy and unappealing. 

What Are the Synonyms of PUA? 

Here are some synonyms for the word PUA for each definition. 

  • Unemployment 
  • Stimulus 
  • Federal pandemic unemployment compensation (FPUC)
  • Pandemic emergency unemployment compensation PEUC)
  • Player
  • Stud
  • Charmer
  • Playboy
  • Cassanova
  • Womanizer
  • Heartbreaker
  • Philanderer

The PUA Acronym

The word PUA can be confusing if you don’t know all of its definitions. Thankfully, now you know each of the meanings of PUA and how to use them confidently in your writing and conversation. 

If you need a refresher on the meanings of PUA, come back to this article for the information you need. 


DES: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation | North Carolina Department of Commerce 

DES: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance | North Carolina Department of Commerce 

Pick-up Artists | History of the seduction community | History Cooperative