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"Frenemies" redirects here. For the 2009 film, see Little Fish, Strange Pond. For the 2012 film, see Frenemies (film). For the Glee episode, see Frenemies (Glee). For the Sex and the City episode, see Frenemies (Sex and the City).

"Frenemy" (less commonly spelled "frienemy") is a portmanteau of "friend" and "enemy" that can refer to either an enemy pretending to be a friend or someone who really is a friend but also a rival.[1] The term is used to describe personal, geopolitical, and commercial relationships both among individuals and groups or institutions. The word has appeared in print as early as 1953.[2]


A Businessweek article stated that frenemies in the workplace are common, due to increasingly informal environments and the "abundance of very close, intertwined relationships that bridge people's professional and personal lives ... [while] it certainly wasn't unheard of for people to socialize with colleagues in the past, the sheer amount of time that people spend at work now has left a lot of people with less time and inclination to develop friendships outside of the office."[3]

The term frenemy, seamlessly blending the words fr(iend) and enemy, referring to someone who pretends to be a friend but actually is an enemy—a proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing in the world of friendships. The term frenemy has been around for a while, reportedly coined by a sister of author and journalist Jessica Mitford in 1977,[4] and popularized more than twenty years later on the third season of Sex and the City.[citation needed]

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  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary online, draft entry, December 2008
  2. ^ Winchell, W. (19 May 1953). "Howz about calling the Russians our Frienemies?". Nevada State Journal (Gannett Company). 
  3. ^ Frenemies at Work, Liz Ryan, BusinessWeek, June 14, 2007.
  4. ^ “Frenemy, an incredibly useful word that should be in every dictionary, coined by one of my sisters when she was a small child to describe a rather dull girl who lived near us. My sister and the Frenemy played together constantly, invited each other to tea at least once a week, were inseperable companions, all the time disliking each other heartily.” “The Best of Frenemies,” The Daily Mail, August 1977, rpt. in Jessica Mitford, Poison Penmanship (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979).

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