Friend of a friend

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Friend of a friend (FOAF) is a phrase used to refer to someone that one does not know well, literally, a friend of a friend.

In some social sciences, the phrase is used as a half-joking shorthand for the fact that much of the information on which people act comes from distant sources (as in "It happened to a friend of a friend of mine") and cannot be confirmed. It is probably best known from urban legend studies, where it was popularized by Jan Harold Brunvand.

The acronym FOAF was coined by Rodney Dale and used in his 1978 book The Tumour in the Whale: A Collection of Modern Myths.[1]

The rise of social network services has led to increased use of this term.

Other languages[edit]

  • "Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi" (Irish proverb) — similar Irish language term literally meaning a woman told me that a woman told her that…
  • "L'homme qui a vu l'homme qui a vu l'ours" (French proverb) — similar French language proverb literally meaning The man who saw the man who saw the bear, in which the bear is never seen, only heard of.
  • "Un amigo me dijo que un amigo le dijo…" (Spanish proverb) — meaning literally A friend told me that a friend told him that…
  • "Jedna paní povídala…" (Czech proverb)— similar Czech language proverb literally meaning One lady said…
  • "Teman dari teman saya..." Bahasa Indonesia; literally meaning friend of my friend.
  • "Babaturana babaturan urang..." Basa Sunda; literally meaning friend of my friend. There is another version of this phrase in Sundanese language, "Babaturan dulur urang", which means "friend of my relatives".
  • "카더라..." Korean; It is Gyeongsang_dialect word and It literally meaning Who said that…


  1. ^ Brunvand, Jan Harold (2012). Encyclopedia of Urban Legends, Updated and Expanded Edition. ABC-CLIO. p. 241.