A Linguistic Phenomenon: “Bros

Nora Taylor

The newest fad that’s sweeping the nation isn’t an Apple product, a variation on leggings or a hip-hop song with directions for a dance that you should only do whilst drunk. It’s a word. A single word with millions of variations and some very strong connotations. That word is “bro.” It is used as a greeting — “What up bro?!” — an exclamation — “Bro!” — or a term of endearment — “He’s my bro, no question!”
The word bro has seeped into the popular lexicon with a fury rivaled only by that of “whatever” after the 1995 release of “Clueless.”
Bro is by no means a new nickname, but currently it seems that there is almost bro frenzy. People seem to be attempting to out bro each other in conversations.
If one is not using bro in one of its many uses, one is referring to a group of people as bros usually with a notable amount of scorn. What originally began as an ironic catchphrase amongst some has become a utilitarian morpheme for the masses.
Urban Dictionary defines bros as “obnoxious partying males who are often seen at college parties. When they aren’t making an ass of themselves they usually just stand around holding a red plastic cup waiting for something exciting to happen so they can scream something that demonstrates how much they enjoy partying. Nearly everyone in a fraternity is a bro but there are also many bros who are not in a fraternity. They often wear a rugby shirt and a baseball cap. It is not uncommon for them to have spiked hair with frosted tips.”
The above definition is interesting because other definitions offer differing descriptions, with an interesting class difference. The aforementioned bro is almost always associated with college, whereas the other bros are described as people who wear wife-beater tanks, drive trucks, have gross hair and work at car shops. It is often mentioned or implied that bros are white, but as the sister of a black bro, I can assure that the “bro” phenomena is not limited to the Caucasian race alone.
In a brief roundtable discussion about bro, it was agreed that bro has usurped its predecessor, “dude.” Bro is loved for its versatility, reminiscent of everyone’s favorite f-bomb. Some examples are “Broseph,” “Broham,” “Bro-Ha,” “Bro-fo’sho” and for those who find it to burdensome to complete the “o” sound, “bra.” When asked about the resurgence of bro into the vocabulary of his peers, junior Pete Huck said, “Yeah … I think it’s good.”
One has to wonder why certain words catch on or make comebacks when others simply fade away. For now we shall just have to make due with a cacophony of “bros” and “bro” derivatives and bide our time till “jive turkey” makes a comeback.