Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To remove (someone) as a friend on a social networking website.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One not a friend; an enemy.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun rare One not a friend; an enemy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun One who is not a friend; an enemy.
  • verb rare To sever as friends.
  • verb Internet To defriend; to remove from one's friends list (eg on a social networking website).

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English unfreond, onfrend, equivalent to un- +‎ friend. Cognate with Scots unfrend ("unfriend"). Compare Old English unfriþmann, unwine.

Examples

  • The contenders for 2009 Big Law Word of the Year are not as hip as Oxford's Word of the Year -- a nod to Facebook's influence, "unfriend" -- but who said Big Law was hip?

    Law.com - Newswire

  • I think it's no coincidence, though, that to "unfriend" - essentially dropping a connection with someone made on Facebook - is the Oxford American Dictionary's 2009 Word of the Year as this decade of frenzied communication comes to a close.

    Fore, right!

  • A bad break-up would also mean either of them, or both, would remove - 'unfriend' - the person from their list.

    Hindustan Times News Feeds 'Views'

  • I think it's no coincidence, though, that to "unfriend" - essentially dropping a connection with someone made on Facebook - is the Oxford American Dictionary's 2009 Word of the Year as this decade of frenzied communication comes to a close.

    The Appleton Post-Crescent Latest Headlines

  • I think it's no coincidence, though, that to "unfriend" - essentially dropping a connection with someone made on Facebook - is the Oxford American Dictionary's 2009 Word of the Year as this decade of frenzied communication comes to a close.

    StarTribune.com rss feed

  • The New Oxford American Dictionary named "unfriend" -- as in deleting someone as a friend on a social network such as Facebook -- its word of the year on Monday.

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • But will "unfriend" -- to remove someone as a "friend" on a social networking site -- find relevance beyond its online context as a verb, or will it be deleted along with passing technological trends?

    post-gazette.com - News

  • "unfriend" - meaning to "de-friend" someone on a social networking site such as Facebook - deserved the 2009 word of the year award.

    Gizmag Emerging Technology Magazine

  • "unfriend" - meaning to "de-friend" someone on a social networking site such as Facebook - deserved the 2009 word of the year award.

    Gizmag Emerging Technology Magazine

  • (If you 'unfriend' someone who is in your clan, they will remain your clan member unless you remove them from your clan.)

    How to Build Up a 'Vampire Wars' Clan

Comments

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  • Facebook Linguistics

    January 31, 2009

  • "The New Oxford American Dictionary has named unfriend - as in deleting someone as a friend on a social network such as Facebook - its word of the year. Oxford University Press USA, in a blog post, said unfriend, a verb, had beaten netbook, sexting, paywall, birther and death panel for the honour.

    'Unfriend has real lex-appeal,' said Christine Lindberg, senior lexicographer for Oxford's US dictionary program. 'It has both currency and potential longevity,' she said. '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.'"

    - AFP, Word of the year is ... unfriend, theage.com.au, 17 Nov 2009.

    November 17, 2009

  • No one I know actually uses this word, so finding out it's the more common usage confuses me.

    We are not normal people.

    November 19, 2009

  • I use it. It's much more convenient than "remove X from my friends list."

    November 19, 2009

  • I've used it as a sarcastic threat to friends of mine.

    November 19, 2009