Monday, February 26, 2007


Colbert had as his Wørd last Friday frenemy. He talked about the relationship between the U.S. and China, the People's Republic. Turns out, fremeny is widespread in current use ... over 43,000 g-hits and even that particular show has already been worked up on the web, here.


Ben Zimmer said...

You'll also want to check out the spelling frienemy. Wordspy has an entry, though the term is only dated there from 1998. There are Usenet cites back to 1993, and Barry Popik posted a cite on ADS-L from forty years before that! It appeared in Walter Winchell's syndicated column, as in this appearance on Newspaperarchive:

1953 Kingsport (Tenn.) News 16 May 4/6 Howz about calling the Russians our Frienemies?

Mr. Verb said...

Thanks. Didn't even think to check alternative spellings. There's so much popular blending going on now — as Stumblerette has pointed out here and as noted in lots of language-related places on the web. Interesting opportunity for some work in historical morphology, even in basic descriptive terms ... I'd be curious to see how the process has picked up steam.