Recently, it was formally published that “unfriend” has been chosen as the “Oxford Word of the Year”. Immediately thereafter, questions were raised: How come such an ambivalent term? What does the strange word mean? Why has the curious expression come to fore? And so on, so forth. The glaring fact is that the word is emphatically rejected even by well updated computers – as wrongly spelled. Hence, it is but just and proper to ask the New Oxford American Dictionary what this curiously unfamiliar and intriguing locution “unfriend” is all about.
First, it is said that “unfriend” is a verb.
This is quite simulating if not actually confusing. As a verb, the following would be in order: To unfriend someone. To be unfriending somebody. To have been unfriended by him or her. While the said verb uses are not really that queer or unnerving, they are certainly neither that settling or quieting. Perhaps – just perhaps – it would be better sounding and easier understood if it were an adjective such were instead noun or an adjective: “He is an unfriend.” “She has become an unfriend.” “All of them are unfriends.”
Second, it is considered that “unfriend” is understood.
This simply means that the very mention of the word conveys a ready and accepted meaning. In other words, someone who is an “unfriend” immediately says that the person concerned is certainly not a friend but definitely neither an enemy. The term wherefore must have come to use, precisely in order to qualify somebody who may be an acquaintance but not yet a friend, may belong to a group but still not a friend to all. It however appears that an unfriend is certainly neither an adversary nor a foe, a rival or the like.
Third, it is a given that “unfriend” is here to stay.
It is a probability that the term can easily become of constant use, particularly in the language young people, the adventurous youth, the inventive teenagers. In the event that this projection becomes an actuality, then the following could come to fore: One, the word “enemy” would be less used. Two, the expression “unfriend” could be then used to mollify dislike, displeasure or dismay. Three, the same term might lessen untruth if not hypocrisy in human relations.
Hence: Dear unfriends: Thus we are because we are really do not know one another – or do not know either the wrong things about us or do not know the good things about each other. While to become enemies is neither right nor unpleasant, it will be great if we become friends – instead of staying unfriends. Know what? Friends say so much wonderful things than what is commonly understood about friendship. Hanging out together, laughing together, talking to one another, kidding and making fun of each other, this is great. Friend?
November 25, 2009