All the everyday terms 'Friends' is totally responsible for
I’ve discussed my love for Friends on multiple occasions. In fact, I’m surprised I haven’t driven you all away with my incessant references. (Clearly, I’m not trying hard enough.) While the show has gifted us with a number of clever one-liners over the years, it has also made some surprising contributions to our vocabulary. Friends has helped redefine and popularize a number of expressions. It’s even given us a few brand new words along the way. For example:
1) Friend zone (n.): a situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of whom has an unreciprocated romantic interest in the other
“Friend zoning” is a practice that dates back to ancient history, when gladiators would attack their friends and acquaintances in an effort to impress their queen, only to be dismissed in favor of some high-born prince. (Was that history? Or was that a Game of Thrones episode? I keep losing track.) Regardless, while the idea of the friend zone has been around for centuries, a phrase for it has only been around since the 1990s when Joey Tribbiani told his friend Ross that he was “the mayor of the friend zone.” Honestly, out of all the “Friends,” Joey is the last one I would’ve expected to make a major contribution to our vocabulary. (Still love ya, Joe.)
2) Scrud (n.): a bad person
After breaking a girl’s leg so he could win a trip to space camp, Ross (are you surprised because I’m not) tried to make it up to her by selling the most boxes of cookies so she could go instead. This heroic act didn’t win him any favors with the other girl scouts, though, which he learned when one of them called him a “scrud” for injuring her friend. What’s a scrud, you ask? Ross asked the same thing. The answer? “Why don’t you look in the mirror, scrud?” Guess that answers that question.
3) Frienaissance (n.): an activity to renew your friendship with a friend
After a particularly stressful trip to Vegas, Joey and Phoebe decided to take a road trip back to New York to revive their friendship (even though there was nothing really wrong with it). And so, the word frienaissance was born. Frienaissance’s don’t have to come in the form of a road trip, they can be anything. You can have a freinaissance by binge-watching Orange Is the New Black or having long, meaningful life talks at IHOP over a plate of chocolate chip pancakes in the wee hours of the morning. You don’t have to confine yourself to a car to rekindle your friendship.
) Moo point (n.): an argument that doesn’t matter
Is it crazy that I find Joey’s explanation of a moo point more believable than the explanation for the actual term, a “moot” point? In “The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs,” Joey unintentionally coins this term meaning “a useless discussion” after mistakenly attributing the expression “a moot point” to a cow’s opinion which, of course, doesn’t matter.
5) Transponster (n.): something to do with numbers and processing and transponding
During a heated trivia lightning round, Rachel and Monica are issued one final question: what is Chandler Bing’s job? Fans of the show have seen bits of pieces of Chandler’s professional life but the actual title of his job was rarely ever mentioned. Rachel’s frenzied answer to this question, “A TRANSPONSTER,” garners a few laughs, but Monica’s over-the-top reaction is what makes this scene kick-you-in-the-crotch spit-on-your-neck fantastic.
6) Lobster (n.): soul mate
When I hear the word lobster, I no longer picture lobsters on a plate at a seafood restaurant as I once did. (Coming from a Bostonian, that means a lot.) All I see is Phoebe mashing her lobster claws together and talking about eternal mating partners. Before The One with the Prom Video, calling someone “your lobster” wouldn’t have been endearing; it probably would’ve signaled cannibalistic tendencies.
7) Oomchimawa: an expression of glee and surprise
In The One with the Routine, Joey makes multiple attempts to kiss his attractive roommate Janine, to no avail. At the end of the episode, she surprises him with a special New Year kiss, after which he looks at her and utters, simply, “oomchimawa.” I always thought this term had some sort of meaning that I was unaware of, that it came from a different language that I was unfamiliar with, but in my research, I discovered that it’s gibberish, a moo word, if you will.
8) Unagi (n.): a heightened awareness of your surroundings
Unagi was not “invented” by Friends. The word refers to a type of freshwater eel that’s often used in Japanese cooking. (Rachel even challenges Ross’s definition of unagi: “Isn’t that a kind of sushi?”) However, Friends is responsible for popularizing its other definition: a state of total awareness that allows you to be prepared for any danger that may befall you. The show is also probably responsible for inspiring an unsettling number of friend-on-friend “DANGER” attacks after this episode aired.
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