Part of a series on Internet Slang. [View Related Entries]

Updated Aug 04, 2016 at 10:57AM EDT by Don.

Added Aug 03, 2016 at 05:55PM EDT by Don.

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Fam, short for "family," is a slang term which is typically used between friends as a term of endearment. Online, it is associated with various memes popularized through Black Twitter, including The Barber and Check Out My Mixtape.


The exact origin of the slang use of "fam" is unknown. While some have cited black communities in the United States as the original creators of the term, others claim it originated within the United Kingdom. On November 6th, 2003, Urban Dictionary[1] user Chris submitted an entry for "fam," defining it as "someone you consider family" (shown below). Over the next 13 years, the submission gained over 7,000 upvotes.

fam a word use to describe your peoples. ones that you can trust dearly. someone you consider family my fam wuz mad deep up in the club the other day by Chris November 06, 2003


In October 2008, the question "What does 'fam' mean in English slang?" was submitted to Yahoo Answers!.[2] On October 8th, 2014, the /r/BlackPeopleTwitter[8] subreddit was launched, which restricts the usage of the words ”bruh”, "fam" or "similar vernacular" in posts "just to sound black." On December 11th, the @WorldStarFunny[9] Twitter feed posted a photograph of a man with a circular haircut blended into his facial hair with the caption “he sat in the barber’s chair and just said ‘fuck my whole life up fam’” (shown below). In nine months, the tweets gathered over 7,100 retweets and 9,600 likes.

WORLD STAR FANS @WorldStarFunny Follow 5 he sat in the barbers chair and just said fuck my whole life up fam" RETWEETSFAVORITES 7,191 9,600 1:18 PM-11 Dec 2014

On January 3rd, 2015, Redditor Thomas_Jefferson submitted a post asking about the meaning of "fam" and why it is "liberally used in black speech" to the /r/ExplainLikeImWhite[6] subreddit. Two days later, another post about the slang term was submitted to /r/ExplainLikeImWhite,[7] to which Redditor SonRaw claimed "it's been common slang for ages in London/the UK." On October 26th, a 4chan user complained about the usage of the initialism TBH and "fam" on the "/r9k": board (shown below, left). On December 12th, 4chan user le_ebin_maymayman submitted a post with the message repeatedly using the word fam along with various made-up abbreviations and "TBH" (shown below, right).

Anonymous 10/26/15(Mon)22:28:34 No.23759956 >All of 4chan now unironically says >tbh and 12 KB JPG fam THANKS A LOT ROBOTS, THE SPREAD IS ALL YOUR FAULT Anonymous 10/26/15(Mon)22:29:52 No.23759994 What's your point tbh fam? Smh >>23760012 # >>23760126 # >>23760183 # ffunny. le_ebin, maymayman 12/12/15(Sat)17:35:22 No.3993762 <that fam when you fam a fam ftf (for the fam) and don't fam tbf (to be fam) fam 6 KB JPG JUST fam my fam up tbh fam 2 Replies View Thread Anonymous 12/12/15(Sat)17:48:56 No.3993784 fam tbh tbh fam tbh fam fam fam fam tbh >>3993791 # le_ebin, maymayman 12/12/15(Sat)17:56:10 No.3993791 23993784 # smdh (shaking my d*ck hahahahahahha) tbh

On January 5th, 2016, MTV News[4] included "fam" in a listicle containing various slang terms. On July 27th, Redditor Lonely-Quark submitted a post titled "Why have Americans suddenly started saying 'fam'?" to /r/OutOfTheLoop.[3]

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