Jump to content

How many people have you "unfriended" this year?


Recommended Posts

Unfriend! It's the Word of the Year (but you might not have heard of it)



By David Gardner

Last updated at 12:45 AM on 18th November 2009




For those unfamiliar with social networking sites, it might not be a word you've heard.

But reflecting the popularity of the likes of Facebook and MySpace sites, the New Oxford American Dictionary has chosen 'unfriend' as its 2009 Word of the Year.

The dictionary defines the verb as 'To remove someone as a "friend" on a social networking site such as Facebook. As in "I decided to unfriend my roommate after we had a fight".'


article-0-02A73FAF000004B0-185_468x318.jpg New word: 'Unfriend' is a term used on social networking sites such as Facebook


'It has both currency and potential longevity,' said Christine Lindberg, Senior Lexicographer for Oxford University Press's U.S. dictionary programme, announcing the winner yesterday.






'In the online social networking context, its meaning is understood, so its adoption as a modern verb form makes this an interesting choice for Word of the Year.'

Users of the networking sites can befriend others by sending 'friend requests' to widen their online circle.


These friends will then have access to a user's uploaded material and status updates.





However, a falling out could lead to being 'unfriended' - the online equivalent of a social snub.


Language purists might be tempted to 'unfriend' those who use it; the word has an unconventional use of the 'un-' prefix typically used in adjectives such as unacceptable or unpleasant.

Unfriend 'is different from the norm', said Miss Lindberg.

'It assumes a verb sense of "friend" that is really not used, at least not since maybe the 17th century,' she added.


There were a number of other technological words on the final shortlist, including 'sexting' - the sending of sexually explicit texts and photographs using a mobile phone - and 'intexticated', for when people are distracted by texting while driving.

With a nod to current affairs, other finalists were 'funemployed' - referring to those taking advantage of their newly unemployed status to have fun - and 'birther', a conspiracy theorist who challenges Barack Obama's U.S. birth certificate, claiming he was not born in the U.S, and is thus not eligible to be President.

The Word of the Year is chosen based on popularity in everyday usage and cultural importance over the previous twelve months.

Last year's winner was ' hypermiling,' a term used for drivers maximising their petrol mileage, while 2007's word was 'locavore', describing people who buy or pick their own local foods.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've defriended/unfriended... around 30 people, I think.


Surely "Defriend" makes more sense? Unfriended sounds like you are retard


I defriend frequently.


Yeah I too think 'defriend' makes more sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...