2004, from guest lists reading “John Doe + 1” meaning “John Doe plus one (unspecified) guest”. Later generalized to invitations, particularly as an alternative to explicitly inviting both members of a couple: the invitee is welcome to bring a guest, be it a spouse, companion, date, friend, etc.
- A friend or date whom one brings along to an event; a guest of a guest.
- 2004, “Plus One”, in Gives It To Ya. Twice, performed by Coyote Shivers:
- I'm on the guestlist baby / Be my plus one
- 2005, Claire Fordham, Plus One: A Year in the Life of a Hollywood Nobody, →ISBN, page 13:
- If the invitation doesn't say Plus One, then the guest or their representative or the guest pretending to be their own representative if they don't have one will call up to check if they can bring a Plus One. Basically, a Plus One is a guest's guest.
- 2005 October 7, Richard Hobson, “Super Series faces struggle to justify its official status”, in The Times Online:
- By then Kevin Pietersen may have been named as winner of two categories at the ICC Awards Night, which will receive more attention on Tuesday if, as expected, he is accompanied by Caprice, the model, who was due to arrive as his plus one today.
- 2006, Amy Winehouse (lyrics and music), “Me & Mr Jones”, in Back to Black:
- No, you ain't worth guest list / Plus one of all them girls you kiss
There is no commonly accepted term for a person who brings a plus one. Generally a phrase is used instead, as in “if you are bringing a plus one”, or “the person whom you are accompanying”; people who are directly invited (not plus ones) can be referred to as invitees. Proposed terms and their problems include host (suggests the ultimate host), escort (sexual connotations), chaperon/chaperone (suggests older supervisor), and guest-bringer (technical, awkward). More humorous terms include voucher and ticket/meal ticket.