unfriend – verb –
“To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.”
This is the Oxford Word of the Year 2009 and it features on the OUP Blog. There is a discussion from readers about why the word is “unfriend” rather than “defriend”. I made a small contribution. It is still active, so you can go on too and comment if you want!
The OUP Blog item also covers other new technology words – hashtag, intexticated, netbook, paywall and sexting.
I have never actually “unfriended” (16,000 hits in Google) anyone in Facebook, but I have told some (by email) that I won’t be their Facebook friend, just their email friend. The whole use of the word “friend” (by a piece of software) I find rather unpleasant. It keeps asking me if I want to be friends with particular people, that I may well be friends with in the sense of well disposed towards them, but I may not want to exchange electronic messages with them.
Maybe the whole new concept of “electronic friend” needs a few more prefixes to express the full range of new “relationships”. We could have “unfriend”, “defriend”, “refriend”, “upfriend”, “downfriend” etc. Suggestions requested!
I will leave this up to the Oxford lexicographers!