A queerplatonic relationship (or "QPR") is one which is more intense and intimate than what most people regard as a friendship, not fitting the traditional romantic couple model or the traditional bounds of friendship. It can be characterized by a strong bond, affect, and emotional commitment not regarded by those involved as something beyond a friendship. It is a so-called platonic relationship, so it does not comprehend sexuality/eroticism or romance, although some people involved in light or non-traditional romantic relationship might also categorize themselves as being queerplatonic. As a non-romantic relationship, people in a queerplatonic relationship are not restricted to have just one queerplatonic partner ("QP" or "QPP").

The people involved do not have to identify as "queer", it is a type of relationship experienced by and available to anybody regardless of their sexual orientation, romantic orientation, or (non-)monogamy. The people involved in a queerplatonic relationship may consider themselves partners, life-partners, a couple, a triad, or any other term that implies the relationship is meaningful, committed, and intimate. Because queerplatonic relationships are not based on exclusivity, a participant of the relationship may have multiple QPPs and exclusive relationships (romantic or sexual) with a third party not involved in the QR.

In her book Minimizing marriage, contemporary philosopher Elizabeth Brake talks about a concept that is adverse to queerplatonic thought, naming it "amatonormativity": "the disproportionate focus on marital and amorous love relationships as special sites of value, and the assumption that romantic love is a universal goal. Amatonormativity consists in the assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in that should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types."

Queerplatonic partners are sometimes referred to as "zucchini". As in, "they're my zucchini". This was originally a joke within the aromantic asexual community, underscoring the lack of words in mainstream relationship discourse to signify meaningful relationships that do not follow the standard and expected sexual/romantic norms, and frustration with the erasure of other kinds of intimacy, which were perceived as equally valuable to the sexual/romantic model.

"Squish", which is used as the platonic version of "crush", is another term to describe partners in queerplatonic relationships. Mostly used to describe the feeling of wanting to have a queerplatonic relationship with somebody, this term can also be used inside the relationship as an alternative to "zucchini". It can be used as a verb as well as a noun.

Due to the controversy surrounding the reclamation of "queer" in some spaces, an alternative to queerplatonic is "quasiplatonic" or "quirkyplatonic".

In some situations the people involved can show physical affection such as cheek kisses, pecks on the lips, holding hands, sitting on each other's lap, seeing each other naked, cuddling and sleeping together (not euphemistically). To QPPs, these activities are not necessarily romantic nor sexual/erotic.

Tumblr user ‹spectra-fidelis› described queerplatonic relationships thus:

"if you'd picture romance with taper candles over dinner, and sexual relationship as a queen bed, I would try picturing the queerplatonic as string lights over tea and a bunk bed with tin can-and-wire phones between them. The same, but not."