Word Of The Week: ‘Fr’


Do you feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the rapid expansion of the English lexicon? You’re not alone. A lethal combination of celebrity culture and twitter has given rise to a host of new and at times seemingly unintelligible words. As such, we shall be taking an in-depth look at one word each week, exploring its etymology, meaning and significance in pop culture and beyond. It’ll be just like learning your ABCs again. Welcome to Word of the Week.

1. Slang. Acronym for ‘For real.  

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin made the inauspicious claim that there are only two certainties in life – death and taxes. 

228 years later, we’re making a bold new claim. The certainties that we see are fake news and fake language. Virtually every day something sensational hits the headlines and the twitterati get into a shitstorm, twisting their knickers trying to spout as much hyperbole into 140 characters. The end products are ‘words’ like Fr, meaning (we’ve assumed) ‘For real’. Let’s try and put this into practice with some blunt dialogue (the kind that we hear on a bad day in the office): 

“Michael Gove is such a dick.” 


Before managing to infer Fr’s meaning from various threads across the internet, we presumed it meant something infinitely more banal – the abbreviation for French. As pseudo experts in linguistics, our innate assumption was that it had something to do with the language of love. And we were briefly titillated by the idea. Some of the more exotic thinkers among us thought it referred to Francium, the second rarest naturally occurring element on the periodic table. In some ways, in his odious, reptilian way of being, Gove is a rarely occurring element. We’re tempted to start throwing in chemical elements into casual conversation anyway. That’ll fuck with them. 

Bottom line, it’s hard enough trying to pinpoint exactly what for real is in linguistic terms. Shortening it just creates more of a mess.

This is our plea to those who are (while grammatically challenged) more linguistically creative than us to change – 2017 is already messy, let’s try and at least communicate clearly. In any case, we’re prepping for chemical warfare. 


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