So, maybe you’ve already seen a ton of strange acronyms like YOLO and FOMO and GPOY and TBH posted all over social media, in your text messages and plastered on meme pictures… but have you embraced “BAE” yet?
The ‘Before Anyone Else’ Trend
BAE is an acronym that stands for “before anyone else” and is typically used to refer to a boyfriend or a girlfriend, a lover, a crush or really anyone considered to be the most important person in another person’s life.
The trend is particularly popular with teens and young adults, many of which type the lowercase version of bae as a word itself and an alternative to babe or boo on social media.
How People Are Using It Online (and Offline)
The bae trend seems to follow the rule that you can replace anyone’s name with it, and most people don’t keep the word “my” in there when referring to their significant other. For example, instead of posting a status update that reads: “Hanging out with Sam,” or “Hanging out with my boyfriend,” you would say: “Hanging out with bae.”
Posting it online or sending it in text messages is one thing, but saying it out loud is quite another. And yes, it has already made its way into everyday language already, kind of like how some people say lawl (lol – laugh out loud) or bee-arr-bee (brb – be right back) when having a face-to-face conversation. I’ve heard bae pronounced out loud the same way you would say the word bay.
Seriously, these weird Internet words are now officially part of the English language and can be found in Oxford Dictionaries
How It All Started
When it comes to ridiculous memes and trends that mysteriously appear out of nowhere, Know Your Meme is usually on the case — and that includes the whole bae movement.
According to KVM’s extensive research into it, the term bae can be traced to as far back as 2003 from a user-submitted definition for it in the Urban Dictionary.
Its exact origin is unknown, but the term has been used in reference to a significant other and a slang alternative for baby or boo on social media randomly here and there over the past several years. It wasn’t until 2011 when someone tweeted that the term was an acronym which stood for “before anyone else.”
Why It’s Popular Now
If bae has been around for years already, why did we seen such a massive surge in its use all over social media and text messaging in 2014? Unlike other memes that basically go viral overnight, bae took years to grow as a trend before it finally skyrocketed in use. So, why now?
The fact that the web is more social and mobile than ever also has a lot to do with how quickly the bae phenomenon spread.
It’s bee discussed in videos by popular YouTube creators, incorporated into meme photos, captured in text message screenshots and typed into tweets, Facebook statuses, Vine descriptions, tumbler posts and more.
In July of 2014, popular singer-songwriter Pharrell Williams released a song called Come Get It Bae. Similar to how Drake’s song The Motto turned the acronym YOLO (You Only Live Once) into a trendy new term that people started using everywhere online, Pharrell’s Come Get It Bae certainly seemed to bring bae to its peak and solidify it as the latest popular term to use in Internet slang.
Like most memes and trends that go viral, the bae trend happened very quickly after quietly being built up for years before it gained enough social media traction to start reaching the masses. And of course, any time an influential celebrity has anything to do with the spread of a potential new trend, virality can take off at an exponential rate.
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