On Wednesday, Pharrell dropped a video for his new single, “Come Get It Bae,” which may immediately raise some questions, such as “Come get what?” and “What in the world does bae mean, anyway?”
The short answer: Though this word was used in the 1500s to refer to sheep sounds, today bae is used as a term of endearment, often referring to your boyfriend or girlfriend. Or perhaps a prospect who might one day hold such a lofty position. Bae has also taken on a wider meaning, being used to label something as generally good or cool, as in “This sandwich is bae.”
Say, for instance, you post a picture of you on a yacht with Beyonce and you just so happen to be Jay-Z. You might give that photo a caption like, “Just another Tuesday with my bae. #surfbort” or “When bae looks bae on this bae boat. #boofboof”
There is no doubt that more people are encountering this word and wondering what it means, as evinced by this handy chart from Google Trends:
But there are some competing origin stories.
One tale supposes that bae is in fact the acronym BAE, standing for “before anyone else.” But people often like to make up such origin stories that linguists later discover were absolute poppycock, like the idea that the f-word is an acronym dating back to royal days when everyone needed the king’s permission to get in the sack—so they would be having “fornication under consent of the King.” Great story. Totally untrue.
Others argue that bae is simply a shortened version of babe, which would similarly account for the rare ae juxtapostion. Slangsters do love to embrace the “dropped letter” versions of slang words. When cool gets old, there is coo. When crazy gets tiresome, there is cray. You could do me a solid, or just do me a sol.
The term’s usage took off in 2013 and continues to rise. And as more people say bae, it’s likely that the meaning will shift in any case. When words get popular, one of two things tends to happen, as computational linguist Tyler Schnoebelen explains: “As it gets picked up by more people, its meaning will either calcify or bleach.” That is, harden into meaning only one very specific thing, or expand to embrace a range of meanings.
Take the word weird, as in Weird Al Yankovic, the man who has had such fun parodying Pharrell of late. When first used, that word meant “having the power to control the fate or destiny of human beings.” And that is certainly not the meaning we invoke when referring to Mr. Yankovic.
A good rule of thumb for now at least: if you would use the words boo or babe in some circumstance, you can probably use bae.
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What does bae mean in text message? ›
"Bae," Urban Dictionary says, is an acronym that stands for "before anyone else," or a shortened version of baby or babe, another word for sweetie, and, mostly unrelated, poop in Danish. In addition, "bae" has appeared in rap songs and countless web memes since the mid-2000's.What does bae mean in love? ›
BAE is an abbreviation for baby or babe. BAE refers to a person's significant other. It can be used as a term or endearment or as an adjective.How do you explain bae? ›
Slang. an affectionate term used to address or refer to one's girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, etc.: I love you, bae.What does bae mean now? ›
an affectionate term used to address or refer to one's girlfriend, boyfriend, etc.” Many have debated the etymology of bae, some insisting that it derives from the acronym “Before Anyone Else.” The earliest evidence of this connection on Twitter is from a July 19, 2011, tweet, making “Before Anyone Else” a backronym of ...Is bae used for boyfriend? ›
The short answer: Though this word was used in the 1500s to refer to sheep sounds, today bae is used as a term of endearment, often referring to your boyfriend or girlfriend.Can you use bae for a guy? ›
Both boys and girls, men and women, use the word bae, usually if they are in a relationship or infatuated with each other. But bae can also be used to refer to a best friend as a way to express how close the bond is.Can I call my friend bae? ›
“Bae" stands for "before anyone else" and is used as a term of endearment. It's often used for both significant others and close friends, so if this girl is actually your close friend, it doesn't mean anything. Also irrespective of gender, “bae” can be used for your most closed ones, other than blood relations.Does bae mean life? ›
Bae is an acronym that stands for Before Anyone Else. Sometimes the word "Anyone" can be replaced with "Anything" in this acronym, but in general, it's usually "Anyone" to give reference to an actual person (or at least a living thing, like an animal).Does bae mean crush? ›
Do you call a girl bae or Boo? The most popular slang synonym for the word "boo" is "bae", which basically means the same thing. "Bae" is a term which we use to refer to the most important person in our life, no matter if it is your significant other, crush, lover, or even best friend sometimes.What does bae mean not in a relationship? ›
"The word babe has highly adaptive qualities," Sullivan says. "It can be used by any gender, among S.O.'s, even often among friends. We use the term when calling a partner by name isn't strong enough to express all of your feelings. Whether or not there is romantic meaning behind its use is determined by its context."
Why do guys say bae? ›
' Today it's a slang word typically used between two people in a romantic relationship. According to the Urban Dictionary, the word 'bae' is the acronym for 'before anyone else. ' It's also short for 'babe' or 'baby.How do you use bae in a sentence? ›
someone you love; a boyfriend or girlfriend: It's bad when bae doesn't reply to your texts. [ as form of address ] Hey, bae. What's up?What is Babe vs bae? ›
“Bae” stands for “before anyone else” whereas “babe” is an affectionate term implying that the person is attractive, or “a babe.” “Babe” tends to be used more between people who are dating because it is so affectionate, but it can also be used with close friends (usually female friends). “Bae” is more general.What is a slang word for boyfriend? ›
Generally cute nicknames for your boyfriend
Boo. Booboo Bear. Sweetheart. Baby Boy. Baby/Babe.
Oxford's blog loosely defined bae as a “term of endearment for one's romantic partner” common among teenagers, with “origins in African-American English,” perpetuated widely on social media and in music, particularly hip-hop and R&B. The lyrical database Rap Genius actually traces bae back as far as 2005.What does bae mean in a friend way? ›
Babe is “a pet name” or term of endearment. It also indicates fondness and, more important, familiarity - as in, you have a relationship with this person. Using such language to address someone, particularly if you aren't in a relationship, is a risky prospect.Is bae outdated? ›
“Bae” – It used to be the trendy way to talk about ones significant other, but it's been overused. There isn't actually a replacement word, although the word "bruh” is a way to describe a friend using something other than their name.Is calling someone bae flirting? ›
Is calling someone bae flirting? Usually, if your S.O. is calling you babe, it's probably because they care about you or are speaking flirtatiously with you, and, as Sullivan said, calling you by your name might not get that across at the moment.Is calling someone bae weird? ›
Is it weird to call your girlfriend bae? The short answer: Though this word was used in the 1500s to refer to sheep sounds, today bae is used as a term of endearment, often referring to your boyfriend or girlfriend.Should you call a girl bae? ›
Can a guy call a girl BAE? In general, if the guy you like calls you boo or bae, that's a good thing. He's probably into you too and wants to continue in the relationship's direction. However, don't get too excited because he might use it as a term of endearment and call all females boo or bae.
What's another word for bae? ›
- Buddy. The cutest, softest way to let your best friend know that you mean the world to them.
- Love Guru. For the friend who always gives the best advice to win your crush's heart! ...
- Secrets. ...
- Meme. ...
- Bestie. ...
- BFF (Best Friend Forever) ...
- The Mechanic. ...
slang : girl, woman. slang : a person and especially a young woman who is sexually attractive.What does good night bae mean? ›
It means “goodnight babe” or “goodnight baby”, he either thinks you guys are more then just friends or going to be at some point soon cause of the way you're talking.What does Boo mean in a relationship? ›
noun (2) plural boos. US slang. : a romantic partner : sweetheart, honey.What is the full form of BEA in love? ›
BAE: Before Anyone Else
BAE stands for Before Anyone Else is a slang term used to refer to a person's romantic partner, boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse. However, it can be used to refer to the most important person in a person's life. It is a shortened version (abbreviation) of 'baby' or 'babe'.
To deem a person “my boo” is to effectively designate that person as one's sweetheart. The slang expression had its big pop-culture moment in 2004 when Usher and Alicia Keys released a duet titled, “My Boo.”Is it a crush or love? ›
Generally speaking, you should want to be around the person you're in love with. "You want to be with them more and get to know them better," says Firstein. Crushes fade and you may get bored after spending time with the same person, but with love, you're never disinterested.Why do guys call you babe? ›
The annoyance factor aside, calling you babe is one of a few subtle things your guy can do to show you that he cares for you. It's also a way of showing off to his male friends so they see the spark of love in your relationship. He wants it to be a clear sign that you're together and are now more than friends.How do you respond to Boo? ›
Respond in a way that makes you most comfortable- call them “boo” back, laugh it off, or tell them “boo” isn't your thing. Do what's best for you. “Hey boo, so nice to meet you!”
Does bae mean poop? ›
The word "bae," which is usually used to describe someone who comes "before anyone else," has a very different meaning in Danish. It means poo. To add insult to injury, it means "bye" in Icelandic.When was the first use of bae? ›
According to Rap Genius, the earliest use of the word bae in rap lyrics dates back to 2005. We were listening to “Pon de Replay” and “Hollaback Girl,” but someone, somewhere was starting the bae trend. Just look at how well the term fits in the lyric, “when the pimp's in the crib bae / drop it like it's hot.”What is another word for my lover? ›
In this page you can discover 67 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for lover, like: darling, love, inamorato, gallant, charmer, beloved, paramour, sweetheart, amoroso, escort and admirer.Is babe an inappropriate word? ›
I.e. is there respect in the voice delivering the term or a sneer?” “'Babe' has too many sexual/relationship connotations and is unacceptable from a stranger. 'Love' or 'darling' are fine -- if you'd say it to your grandmother, then it's ok!”Is bae gender neutral? ›
The word can be used in a gender-neutral sense.
The term originated as an abbreviation of the word "baby" or "babe".
Babe and baby as used to describe a romantic partner (rather than a small child or immature person; those usages began in the 1400s and 1500s) can be traced to usage that began in the 19th and 20th centuries in America.What can I use instead of Babe? ›
- angel (informal),
A paramour is a lover, and often a secret one you're not married to. So it's best not to kiss and make eyes at your paramour in public, unless you want to be the center of a lot of gossip.Can I say bae to a girl? ›
The short answer: Though this word was used in the 1500s to refer to sheep sounds, today bae is used as a term of endearment, often referring to your boyfriend or girlfriend.How do you respond to bae? ›
Bae is just an acronym for “before anyone else”, so essentially react as if he told you he loves you. If you don't feel the same way say “thank you I really appreciate that”. If you do feel the same way but feel that being called Bae is insufficient for saying I love you, call him Bae back.
Can bae be used for friends? ›
“Bae" stands for "before anyone else" and is used as a term of endearment. It's often used for both significant others and close friends, so if this girl is actually your close friend, it doesn't mean anything. Also irrespective of gender, “bae” can be used for your most closed ones, other than blood relations.Why do guys call you bae? ›
' Today it's a slang word typically used between two people in a romantic relationship. According to the Urban Dictionary, the word 'bae' is the acronym for 'before anyone else. ' It's also short for 'babe' or 'baby.What does babe mean for a guy? ›
A guy calling you babe is an act of endearment. When a guy wishes to make you feel special, he'll choose to have nicknames for you. A guy calls you babe because he wants to be close to you, he wants to flaunt you to his friends, or it's just a casual thing he says out of habit.