Anti Word of the Week: Besties

Because I’m a total curmudgeon, this will now be weekly feature in which I rail on modern language and the destruction thereof.  In a recent blog post, our Queen of all things reading related, Dana Barrett, used the expressions “…your book club besties.”  Now I am no old fuddy-duddy or anything of the sort (although I certainly fall in the Harold Bloom canonical works category than Oprah kitsch pick of the month category), but is this a commonly used term?  You would think, considering that I am still ID’d at rated R films, forget about liquor stores, that I would be more in touch with such vernacular.

I sauntered over to the wasteland of casual verbiage that is Urban Dictionary to find this:

[I’m not even going to touch “totes,” that curious mixture of hipster/Hilton speak that I can’t get away from in SF].  Now mind you I understand the concept–contextually it’s fairly easy to glean–but does anyone else think “beasties” when they see that?  Is this one of those things that just works better in voice than in writing?

( surveys)


  1. Never heard of the term “besties”–but then English is forever changing. I am long past the days of being ID ed–(I’m sixty folks!)– I’ve just been listening to “House of the Seven Gables” by Nathaniel Hawthorn and it is a little uncanny to realize how many words have not changed!

    I have for a long time, been interested in finding a term other than “best friend” for “best friend.” Introducing your best friend to other friends can be quite a put down to your other friends. So maybe saying “This is one of my besties” would be a better and easier, not to say non-insulting to explain your relationship of you with that person. ( Did you get all that?)
    I’m sure that it is probably a chick thing.

  2. I’m on board with you about needing a new word for that, Juicyfruits. Personally I’m not sure I could use the word effectively, which perhaps leads to my reluctance to embrace it. Jealousy of not being able to pull off the new lingo 🙂

    That being said, I think you may be correct about it’s origins. I am, alas, not in the target demographic.

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  4. Re: Harold Bloom canonical works vs. Oprah’s choices — Aw, come on. I don’t consider Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Elie Wiesel, William Faulkner, Tolstoy, Steinbeck, and Toni Morrison to be kitsch. I don’t think Oprah would ever tell you she’s a literary critic a la Bloom, but which of the two of them has truly encouraged more people to read challenging works?

  5. Haha, Ok Laura, you got me there to an extent. My point was more which person with whom I was more likely to be in accordance.

    Also, you are absolutely correct with the titles you have selected and their canonical status, but I would suggest that O’s picks have turned more in that direction of late. If you look at her body of picks, (, I think we can agree there’s a good percentage of works that will hardly make it out of this decade, forget about this century.

    Also, the term “challenging works” is a sticky one in that regard… but we can talk about that later 🙂

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