Home » ‘Friend dictionaries’ on TikTok show how loved ones create their own languages

‘Friend dictionaries’ on TikTok show how loved ones create their own languages

by NBC News

For one pair of sisters, a brisk day isn’t chilly — it’s “Chilean sea bass.” And for one couple, they don’t receive deliveries — they “got a parcel.”

These phrases may be unusual to the average person, but to some duos they are common sayings. 

Best friends, siblings and couples alike are sharing their inside jokes and shared lingo on TikTok. Dubbed “friend dictionaries,” and sometimes couple or sister dictionaries, these words reveal the secret languages people have with those closest to them. 

The trend features videos of duos testing each other on their slang. Each person has to guess the term the other writes down for them. 

TikTok creator Chelsea Lefkowitz posted five videos with her sister Amanda Paige guessing the unique slang they share, racking up over 11 million views total.

Viewers commented which terms were their favorites, including “nosetta” for a nosy person or “projectile committed” for plans they are unable to cancel.

“I feel like it’s kind of a universal experience that most sisters or siblings or best friend duos can relate to,” Lefkowitz said. “It’s kind of instinctual, especially for me and my sister. We have a shared background. It’s easy for us to develop inside jokes and references and we kind of have that unique way of communicating.”

Nicole Holliday, assistant professor of linguistics at Pomona College, said the trend exemplifies how “any community of people that have regular interactions with each other will come up with shorthand or references to previous events.”

“It’s establishing your closeness or your role in the community,” Holliday said. “I’m in on the joke. You’re in on the joke.”

Inside jokes and slang can also evoke feelings of nostalgia.

“It’s reminding you of the previous experiences that you’ve had together, which also sort of then facilitates the closeness of the relationship,” Holliday said. 

It’s establishing your closeness or your role in the community.

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