Word: Frenemy Worst friends ever.

Word: Frenemy Worst friends ever.

Issue 36


Arts & Culture

  • Words Pip Usher
  • Photograph Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Scenario, by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, 1997.


Etymology: A portmanteau of the words “friend” and “enemy,” frenemy is thought to have been coined in 1953 when American gossip columnist Walter Winchell suggested applying it to the fraught relationship between Russia and the United States.

Meaning: Have you ever spent the day with an acquaintance only to feel oddly deflated on the ride home? Or found yourself blindsided in the workplace by a smiling colleague delivering a scorpion-tailed remark? Scan your body to see whether you’re experiencing the telltale symptoms—racing heart, flushed face, urge to strangle this person—brought on by the presence of a chum whose intentions are distinctly un-chummy. Perhaps the diagnosis will come back affirmative: Here stands a frenemy.

Used to describe a superficially amicable relatio...

The full version of this story is only available for subscribers

Want to enjoy full access? Subscribe Now

Subscribe Discover unlimited access to Kinfolk

  • Four print issues of Kinfolk magazine per year, delivered to your door, with twelve-months’ access to the entire Kinfolk.com archive and all web exclusives.

  • Receive twelve-months of all access to the entire Kinfolk.com archive and all web exclusives.

Learn More

Already a Subscriber? Login

Your cart is empty

Your Cart (0)