"Disorder, that hath spoil’d us, friend us now!"
That was Shakespeare. Writing in Henry V. In 1599.
Mark Zuckerberg, in other words, was not the first guy in history to use “friend” as a verb. And neither, for that matter, was Shakespeare. In a list of 16 words that are much older than they seem, the good people of Mental Floss have pointed out that “friend” is indeed much, much older than we tend to give it credit for. See, for example, this note: “Reports came that the King would friend Lauderdale.” That was written by William Row in the 17th century.
While Mental Floss dates the oldest friend-as-verb usage to the 14th century, Eugene Volokh has found examples that are even older than that. The earliest instance he’s come across? It dates to the early 13th century. Yes. Which would make that seemingly contemporary usage, the action-based use of “friend” made newly famous by Facebook, at least 800 years old.
Read more. [Image: Shutterstock/Igor Bulgarin]