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Friendship Trivia: Unfriend finally makes it into another dictionary

Published: May 22, 2014 | Last Updated: April 2, 2016 By | 8 Replies Continue Reading
The term unfriend has finally made it into the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.


Earlier this week, the folks who write Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary announced 150 new words and definitions would be added this year to the 2013 edition. The verb “unfriend” was one of them.

A message on the company’s website noted:

These new additions to America’s best-selling dictionary reflect the growing influence technology is having on human endeavor, especially social networking, once done mostly in person.

It was interesting to read that the term was actually first introduced in 2003, more than a decade ago. The M-W definition of “unfriend:” to remove (someone) from a list of designated friends on a person’s social networking Web site.

The New Oxford American Dictionary added the verb “unfriend” as its Word of the Year (WOTY) in 2009.

Another interesting factoid: The term “unfriended” (definition: having no friends) has been around since 1513.

Prior post on on The Friendship Blog about unfriending:

Do you have any thoughts about the etiquette of unfriending someone on social media sites like Facebook?


Comments (8)

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  1. Mark says:

    Friends are great. They can be a blessing, but they can also hurt us, even more than those who are not our friends. There is a friend who is closer than a brother or sister and who never disappoints us. Jesus is my best friend. No one else comes close. Receive Him as Lord and Savior and follow Him as He leads you and you will know God’s peace and forgiveness. God Bless

  2. Janet says:

    My sixteen year old son uses Facebook very infrequently and when he does, he does not post nonsense. I am proud of him for that and think it shows integrity on his part, but for him I feel he might be isolating himself and missing out on things like invitations to parties which are often extended over Facebook or information from his Facebook friends about tests, quizzes or projects in school.

  3. bronwyn says:

    I’ve had that feeling about a lot of my Facebook friends, too. At the same time, however, you don’t seem to like people very much; certainly not Facebook, so why do you use it?

    • Janet says:

      I ask myself that question constantly! I guess I use it to keep up with my own personal interests or current events, (for example I’ve found out about free passes to movies on Facebook)and to keep up with the few people who don’t annoy me by their shameless self-promotion which unfortunately isn’t many. I am dismayed by the number of otherwise highly intelligent, well-educated people with whom I am acquainted and the number of similarly intelligent family members who almost daily post the most innocuous, petty details about their lives on Facebook and also feel the need to push their political ideals in my face. I prefer relating to people who don’t feel the need to do this. In short, I use Facebook as my own personal time line of events and occasionally post something which I find humorous, wish somebody a happy birthday or occasionally post a very important or significant event in the life of my family which is not about where we went and what we had for dinner last night or what we bought when we went shopping or the grade my son got on his most recent US History test, etc. etc.

  4. Janet says:

    If I defriended all my Facebook friends who engage in shameless self-promotion and/or shout their political views from the rooftop daily, I’d be defreinding 90% of my Facebook friends. I’m sorry to say that most of my Facebook friends engage in this type of behavior- post innocuous information about what they had for dinner or what restaurant they dined at last night or their latest injury or post every single innocuous detail about their kids every move or remind me daily about who they support in a a political election and try to convince me likewise. I am SO sick of it and wonder why such people get so many “Likes’ on Facebook for posting such drivel.

    • Eliza says:

      Such people get “Likes” from other similar people who post drivel. And yes, “Defriending” is now an official word as is “Selfie”! lol. Not a huge fan of social media – and it’s definitely a lame way to make friends, be in touch with close friends one can actually call and speak with. Perhaps it’s useful in reconnecting with people from our past. But to post what one ate for dinner is very useless and who actually has time to do that?!

      • Janet says:

        Yes, I agree. It seems as if like-minded folks who are daily users of Facebook and posting nonsense, “Like” and “Comment” on each others posts more frequently than those of us who use it more judiciously.

      • Janet says:

        I attempt to “Friend” like-minded people on Facebook (those who don’t self-promote), but they don’t want to “friend” me because they claim they don’t use Facebook that much. I am missing out on connecting with such people. They don’t know that we have similar values regarding social media, and the people that do end up “friending” me are the ones who end up annoying me by their endless drivel. It’s a no win situation for me on Facebook.

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