Things Are Getting Official

I’m not saying we’re changing the world here, people. But we might be changing the world.

Just last Thursday, we discussed the lack of friendship vocabulary. In the comments, one of you made a call for “proper terminology that will inevitably be added to Webster.”

And then, the very next day and as if in direct response, the editors of the New Oxford American Dictionary announced they added some new words and phrases. Topping the list?  BFF.

BFF n. (pl. BFFs) informal a girl’s best friend: my BFF’s boyfriend is cheating on her.
— ORIGIN 1996: from the initial letters of best friend forever.

Oxford says BFFs are female specific. But they also included a male version.

Bromance n. informal a close but nonsexual relationship between two men.
— ORIGIN early 21st cent.: blend of brother and romance

And how about this vital addition?

Frenemy n. (pl. Frenemies) informal a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.
— ORIGIN 1950s; blend of friend and enemy

Unfortunately they didn’t use any of these prime examples of classic frenemy quotes.

What have we learned? Ask and you shall receive. Now that we have the attention of the good folks at Oxford, I’d like to propose a few other words and phrases to be included in the next round.

Frenvy n. A feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by a friend’s possessions or by the close relationship between a friend and someone else.
—ORIGIN 2010; blend of friend and envy

Girl Crush n. An intense but platonic infatuation that one heterosexual woman feels for another woman whom she admires or with whom she would like to be friends.
— ORIGIN 2005, The New York Times

Girl Date n. The initial meeting of two potential female friends.
— ORIGIN 2010

PBFF n. informal A person who one doesn’t know very well, but who one believes has the potential to be her best friend forever.
— ORIGIN 2010: from the initial letters of potential best friend forever.

What am I missing? Any other friend-related words you’d like formally recognized?  Speak now, Oxford may be listening.


Filed under 21st Century Friendships

7 responses to “Things Are Getting Official

  1. tommy

    I will not be referring to any friending I do as a “bromance”. Nope. Not happenin’. Besides – the word “romance” is incorporated therein. “Brotherly love” I might could get in line with, “brotherly romance” is right out. Besides, I live in Central Texas and don’t want to get my big hippy ass kicked.

    frazy – “friend crazy”. Does not refer to anyone we know. Just tossing it out. Don’t kill the messenger. Rachel.

    I was going to suggest Mother I’d Like to Friend….. but I am told that’s been taken already?

  2. tommy

    Thought you and ‘the gang’ might like this – from the A.Word.A.Day. newsletter by Anu Garg.

    with Anu Garg

    If you are a high school teacher of the English language, or if you are simply someone who cares about the language, chances are textspeak — use of cutesy abbreviations often seen in cell phone messages — grates on your nerves.
    You especially don’t want to see it in a formal setting, for example in a term paper or in a doctor’s report. Imagine if your cardiologist emailed you the results of your test with the note: “C me 4 UR

    But is there really anything wrong with people using expressions such as “C U L8R” in a friendly email or text message? We may want to blame this on cell phones, but according to an upcoming British Library exhibit (see 1, 2), Victorian poets were writing in this manner long before anyone dreamed of mobile devices.

    And let’s not forget that the use of letters to represent words is sometimes used in formal contexts as well. “IOU” for “I Owe You” has been used on promissory notes going back to the 17th century.

    Abbreviations are not bad and there is nothing wrong with acronyms. Shortening a message for a telegraph was perfectly legal, so why take it out on SMS?

    If you happen to have one of those names that can be conveyed by the sounds of letters you may have figured out early on that you could sign off as LN (Ellen), ME (Emmy), KC (Casey), J (Jay), LX (Alex), KT (Katie), or K8 (Kate), to pick a few.

    This week we have picked five letter-words, words that you can write like K-9 for canine.

    emanate or M-N-8


    verb tr., intr.: To emit or to come out.

    From Latin emanare (to flow out), from ex- (out of) + manare (to flow).

    “The head of the Vatican Museum has warned that dust and pollution from tourists visiting the Sistine Chapel could endanger its priceless artworks. ‘Such a crowd… emanates sweat, breath, carbon dioxide, all sorts of dust,’ he said.”
    Vatican Tourists ‘Ruining Sistine Chapel’; The Independent (London, UK); Sep 10, 2010.

  3. Karen A.

    You really are creating the new world Rachel, this post really made me smile.

  4. I do love the word Frenemy…probably because I’ve had a few and never knew what to call them!

  5. suneeti

    great post. the only phrase i’d add is “toxic friend,” since it seems to have grown in use the last several years and brings to mind a pretty specific type of friend (we’ve all had–and hopefully rid ourselves of–one!).

    i was telling my husband a while back that i think some of my closest friends are those on whom i subconsciously had a girl crush at some point. and thank goodness friendships formed through girl dates when i lived in san francisco!

  6. Pingback: She’s Just Not That Into Me « MWF Seeking BFF

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