Friend Is A Four Letter Word
by Cake

Album: Fashion Nugget (1996)
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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: 9

  • Kay Otter from Barstow, CaI always thought it was also a vulgar word. Like it my head it was that because around here when we say "a four letter word", it means someone said s--t, c--t, f--k, crap, any varied 4 letter curse word. Kind of a context clue thing. Not sure that is just my area or an actual thing, thing... So I just thought I would chip in. "Friend? F--k." Is how it kind of went down in my head. lol
  • Texacan from Ft WorthI always thought the four letter they were referring to was "over", because "end is the only part of the word that I heard call me morbid or absurd..."
  • Lew from Scottsdale Friend as a 4 letter word is “over”. I thought about that for months.
  • Emiliano from ArgentinaThe four letter word is F--K.
  • 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.
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