some WOTY candidates, and others

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at RCI.RUTGERS.EDU
Fri Dec 31 06:12:11 UTC 2004

On Fri, 31 Dec 2004 00:21:35 -0500, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>

>At 11:54 PM -0500 12/30/04, Benjamin Zimmer wrote:
>>On Thu, 30 Dec 2004 23:29:42 -0500, Alice Faber <faber at HASKINS.YALE.EDU>
>>>--On Thursday, December 30, 2004 9:53 PM -0500 Laurence Horn
>>><laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
>>>>  facebook, v. 'to look someone up/check someone out in Yale's online
>>>>  facebook or at'  (the noun is a couple of years
>>>>  old, but the verb is new)
>>>If by "a couple" you mean 35+ years...(we had a facebook at Cornell in
>>>the fall of 1970)
>>Even in a strictly Yalensian context, "facebook" was the common term for
>>the student directory in the late '80s/early '90s.  I don't recall the
>>verb being used in those pre-Web days, but it looks like it's at least
>>five years old...
>Touché.  I checked the first few pages of "facebooked" on google, and
>they all seemed to be quite recent (I didn't keep going long enough
>to locate the last of the below examples from 11/02), so I assumed
>other verb forms would also be recent, but maybe not.

>From a sampling of those Googlehits, it appears that the *new* sense of
the verb is not as defined above but rather 'to befriend someone by adding
them to your online facebook network'...

Once inside, you know you have at least one friend. And once you're
friends with someone, you have complete access to his or her profile,
along with his or her friends. Chances are, you have at least one other
friend in common with the person that invited you. And this is where the
"befriending" or being "Facebooked' begins -- as you search through
friends of friends to find the people you know. The "befriending" or being
"Facebooked" is a simply process in which an e-mail is sent to the person
you want to befriend asking them to confirm or deny your friendship.
You don’t even get a confirmation e-mail that alerts you to the fact that
you’ve been defriended. It's like you never existed at all.
We friend each other so often that we’ve coined the verb “to facebook.”
She facebooked him, he facebooked her, but who even knew you could

The "(be)friending"/"defriending" lingo originated with the
network, I believe.  (But Friendster is *so* 2003, so no WOTY
consideration is warranted for those terms.)

--Ben Zimmer

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