Friend Is A Four Letter Word
by Cake

Album: Fashion Nugget (1996)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is about a girl who breaks up with a guys by telling him they should be "Friends." This is not what he wants to hear, and to his ears, and the resulting heartbreak makes him think of the word "Friend" as dirty and cruel - similar to many vulgar 4-letter words in the English language. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Joe - Chicago, IL
  • The lyrics are a play on words, the four letter word they refer to is "iend," and is the only part of the word that the singer hears, which sounds like "end." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Tim - Roanoke, VA

Comments: 5

  • Sander from BeAgreed with Tom. If she tells him she wants to be friends, it feels like an insult, it means she wants to end the relationship, and merely tries to make it sound less harsh.
  • Hollym from TxWhat I see hear actually makes alot of sense. My ex said it was the word "f--k" but he was dull and dense. "iend" makes alot more sense. The "end" part resonated, but now I get it. "Call me morbid or absurd"... "iend" isn't "end" it's "i end" and in, I end.

    The thought of her wanting to just be friends shattered his world. There's hope there, too because now he can build anew. ?? What do y'all think?
  • Chris from Sky Valley, GaTom, Tim kinda has a point. While Joe is right as far as the greater sense is concerned, this is Cake, and the double entendre between the seriousness of a break up and the absurd "I only heard you say 'iend'" is something they would totally do. That's what's awesome about Cake and particularly this song: it's neither just a comedy nor a tragedy but both at once. If you pay attention to the line "to me, coming from you, friend is a four letter word. / (i)end is the only part of the word that I heard" is purposefully vague. Leaving the option that the song can be about a sad break up or a absurd miscommunication. The line "call me morbid or absurd" references the duality: "morbid" referring to the tragedy of a break up and "absurd" referring to the "iend" confusion.
  • Jackie from Blacksburg, VaI would not go so far as there will be no relationship. It's about the line heard in life "Let's just be friends." What she says / means is one thing, but he hears is just "end" as it usually means the end. I have had relationships that do remain friends though, so it's not always.
  • Tom from Florence, ScTim, you have no clue. "iend"? Really?

    What they're saying is that the word "friend" is a four letter word. In other words, it's a dirty word. The wordplay is then that "end" (the last three letters of the word) is the only part of the word "friend" that he hears when she utters the word. The relationship is over, it is at its END ... there will be no friendship.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Waiting For The Break of Day: Three Classic Songs About All-Nighters

Waiting For The Break of Day: Three Classic Songs About All-NightersSong Writing

These Three famous songs actually describe how they were written - late into the evening.

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)

Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper/Lou Reed)Songwriter Interviews

The co-writer/guitarist on many Alice Cooper hits, Dick was also Lou Reed's axeman on the Rock n' Roll Animal album.

Actors With Hit Songs

Actors With Hit SongsMusic Quiz

Many actors have attempted music, but only a few have managed a hit. Do you know which of these thespians charted?

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"

Ian Anderson: "The delight in making music is that you don't have a formula"Songwriter Interviews

Ian talks about his 3 or 4 blatant attempts to write a pop song, and also the ones he most connected with, including "Locomotive Breath."

Gene Simmons of Kiss

Gene Simmons of KissSongwriter Interviews

The Kiss rocker covers a lot of ground in this interview, including why there are no Kiss collaborations, and why the Rock Hall has "become a sham."

Cheerleaders In Music Videos

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.