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Do You & Your Bestie Have A "Friend Dictionary"?

Experts say it’s a sign of healthy friendship.

Two women smiling, holding phones with custom texts; left labeled "SABRINA," right "SAUCE." Text ove...

You know you’re bonded with your best friend when you develop words and phrases of your own, almost like a secret language. On TikTok, this tradition has been dubbed the “best friend dictionary” and it already has millions of views. There are other iterations, too, like the sisters’ dictionary and the couple’s dictionary — but the friend version is perhaps the most relatable.

The trend shows besties putting each other to the test as one describes the definitions of their made-up words and phrases while the other guesses. Take creator @sadielsnow, who revealed her BFF dictionary on May 6. When she and her friend experience a negative emotion they use the catch-all phrase “heim” and when they leave the house in search of something they say they’re going “scunting.”

Half of their words are clearly inside jokes that only they understand, but other words are easier to grasp. For example, if they go for a walk on Saturday they’ll say they’re “going on a little stomp” and when they wake up early they’ll say they need time to “defrost.” If one of them uses these words, the other automatically knows exactly what they mean.

In her comments section, one person said, “Scunting is now in my vocabulary” while another wrote, “The bestie energy is CONTAGIOUS.” And that’s another big draw of this trend. When creator @mickycashflow and her bestie shared their extensive dictionary, they barely got through it without laughing. Their viral video, posted May 8, shows them guessing hilarious vocab words on their phones like “lemmechill” and “Sabrina” and one person commented, “Not me laughing with ya’ll. You two are so cute.”

The Sign Of A Great Friendship

The best friend dictionary is iconic, but even more impressive is how quickly everyone partaking in this trend seems to know the definitions. It took less than five seconds for @sadielsnow’s friend to guess the meaning of “transcending.” Even though that word already has its true definition, they use it to mean something either horrible or amazing is happening. Missed the bus? Just got a raise? “I’m transcending.”

The popularity of this trend, which has over 14.9 million posts under the related phrase, proves that there are so many besties in the world with their own vocabulary deeply engrained in their relationships. According to Najamah Davis, MSW, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker, this personalized language is definitely a sign of a great friendship.

Of course, people in the comments sections seem to agree. Under @mickycashflow’s video, one person wrote, “I want what you guys have” while another said, “You guys convinced me that I’m not best friends with my best friends.”

Developing a Best Friend Dictionary

While certain words will be added to your lexicon as you go about your lives, many might stem from wacky misadventures. “A BFF dictionary is a natural evolution that can span over the years, born out of inside jokes, shared experiences, and a deep familiarity with each other,” says Davis. “For instance, a group of friends embarking on a trip and encountering a humorous mishap might coin a word or phrase to encapsulate that experience, thereby integrating it into their shared language.”

According to Dr. Sanam Hafeez, a neuropsychologist and director of Comprehend the Mind, best friend dictionaries could also collect words from cringy encounters and shared observations. As you experience ups and downs together, “you develop this intimacy where you can say things without explaining them,” she says.

As a bonus, having your language allows you to communicate with each other on the DL. “In situations where there are others present, it feels good to have a secret language of sorts, kind of like Pig Latin for adults,” says Hafeez. “It definitely makes you feel like you belong to a secret club.”


Najamah Davis, MSW, LCSW, licensed clinical social worker

Dr. Sanam Hafeez, neuropsychologist, director of Comprehend the Mind