You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe


The Word

The secret language of bros

Inside the dudeification of English

Bro has been used as a colloquial abbreviation of the word “brother” for hundreds of years--the OED has a citation from about 1660, “I accompanyd my Eldest Bro (who then quitted Oxford) into the Country.” In recent years, however, as a standalone word (sometimes facetiously pronounced “brah”), it has come to mean something much more specific: bro as in frat bro, a casual, popped-collar term of endearment for a fellow beer-drinking, sports-loving, vaguely collegiate, masculine dude.

Lately, bro- has expanded from being a form of address--“Hey, bro!”--and started to infiltrate the rest of the language. Used as a prefix, it can now be added to practically anything to serve as an all-around indicator of male-bonding culture.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week