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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English unfreend, onfrend, equivalent to un- (noun/adjective prefix) +‎ friend. Cognate with Scots unfrend (unfriend). Compare Old English unfriþmann, unwine.


  • Rhymes: -ɛnd
  • (UK, US) IPA(key): /ˈʌnfɹɛnd/
  • (file)


unfriend (plural unfriends)

  1. One who is not a friend; an enemy.
    • 1822, Scott, Nigel:
      Ye have back-friends, my lord, that is, un-friends, or to be plain, enemies.
    • 1856, Elizabeth Gaskell, The Poor Clare
      I wonder often it has not drawn her out of the grave to come and stand before me, and hear me tell her how I loved her. For, sir, we parted unfriends.
    • 1916, William Edwin Chilton, John Downey Works, Fiscal relation between the United States and the District of Columbia
      Thus many unfriends and some friends of the Capital agree upon the same policy with diverse and contradictory motives []
    • 1999, Kees Waaijman, John Vriend, The mystical space of Carmel:
      The unfriend betrays me, ignores me, denies me, breaks me down; the unfriend is against and tries to devour my personhood.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From un- (verb prefix) +‎ friend. Compare Dutch ontvrienden (to unfriend), German entfreunden (to unfriend).



unfriend (third-person singular simple present unfriends, present participle unfriending, simple past and past participle unfriended)

  1. (rare) To sever as friends.
    • 1659, Thomas Fuller, The Appeal of Injured Innocence:
      "I hope, sir, that we are not mutually Unfriended by this Difference which hath happened betwixt us."
  2. (social media) To defriend; to remove from one's friends list (e.g. on a social networking website).
    • 2007, Mia Consalvo, Caroline Haythornthwaite, Internet Research Annual: Volume 4
      "I asked her why, she said it was because I didn't comment, and I shrugged and said whatever. I didn't unfriend her."
    • 2013, Nils Smith, Social Media Guide for Ministry: What It Is and How to Use It:
      Without unfriending someone, you can now choose to limit or block (unsubscribe) someone from your newsfeed or choose to see only what Facebook deems as very important.