Time magazine explains it all to you.
July 24, 2014 2:57 PM   Subscribe

Yesterday, Time magazine apparently felt it important to inform its readership what the slang term "bae" means. Black Twitter has responded with #timetitles. A few examples:
Let me HOLD SOME MONEY...Asking for a loan from someone who clearly has it with no intentions of paying it back. #TimeTitles
I Can't Even: understanding the Black community's bias for odd numbers #TimeTitles
"Don't Make Me Come Up There: Is Time-Out Not Working For Your Child?" #TimeTitles
In case you've been wondering, according to Time, "A good rule of thumb for now at least: if you would use the words boo or babe in some circumstance, you can probably use bae."

posted by fuse theorem (115 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Um, isn't it just "baby" pronounced with only one syllable?
posted by The World Famous at 3:01 PM on July 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


Before Anyone Else is pretty clearly a backronym.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:02 PM on July 24, 2014 [16 favorites]


Slangsters do love to embrace the “dropped letter” versions of slang words.

Which is why we are calling them all "langsters" these days. Except for the ones who are behind on their trends, who are "lagsters."
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:06 PM on July 24, 2014 [16 favorites]


Holy fuck I'm old.
posted by eriko at 3:08 PM on July 24, 2014 [13 favorites]


Slangsters.


SLANGSTERS.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:08 PM on July 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


Thanks, Time Magazine.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:09 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


slangsta, slangsta!
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:11 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I prefer slangoliers.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:11 PM on July 24, 2014 [34 favorites]


I thought it was Once Upon a Time Enchanted Forestese for "boy" (as in, what Rumplestiltskin calls his son in the tv show in the semi-Scottish or whatever accent that is supposed to be)?
posted by eviemath at 3:12 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


from Time article: “Take the word weird, as in Weird Al Yankovic, the man who has had such fun parodying Pharrell of late. When first used, that word meant ‘having the power to control the fate or destiny of human beings.’ And that is certainly not the meaning we invoke when referring to Mr. Yankovic.”

[citation needed]
posted by koeselitz at 3:13 PM on July 24, 2014 [42 favorites]


Obvious Things Can Be Figured Out From Context Clues, New Research Suggests
posted by Sing Or Swim at 3:15 PM on July 24, 2014 [42 favorites]


And here I thought bae was British slang, not American, and originating in the same cultural stew that is being parodied by Ali G.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:15 PM on July 24, 2014


Time has succeeded very well in getting people to talk about Time.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:16 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


eviemath-- no, rumple's son's name is baelfire, so bae is just his nickname. nevertheless i like the idea of enchanted forestese.
posted by twist my arm at 3:16 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought "Lol bae caught me slippin" was just a jokey typo. (That being the first and only context in which I have ever seen the word "bae.")
posted by koeselitz at 3:18 PM on July 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


Which is why we are calling them all "langsters" these days.

No, you're thinking of people who were into Stephen King's story The Langoliers before it got all mainstream with that terrible TV movie starring Dean StoGODDAMMIT MULP
posted by cortex at 3:18 PM on July 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


you certainly can't always substitute bae for boo - me and bae in my bae's coupe riding" just doesn't have the same ring.
posted by nadawi at 3:20 PM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Just like "A'ight" and other youth slang elisions

See: I Luh Ya Papi
posted by briank at 3:20 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


slangsta, slangsta!

You say you a slangsta, but you never neologized nothin'
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:20 PM on July 24, 2014 [16 favorites]


Why has no one done a cover version of the Drifters' classic song but with " Sitting on the dock with my Bae?"
posted by The Whelk at 3:22 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Slangbangers. Obviously.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 3:22 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Magazines White People Like?
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:22 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


This slangsta rap all the kids are listening to is why the comma splice rate is so high!
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:23 PM on July 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


"A good rule of thumb for now at least: if you would use the words boo or babe in some circumstance, you can probably use bae."

If you need Time Magazine to explain this to you, it might be safest not to use the words "boo," "babe" or "bae."
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:25 PM on July 24, 2014 [34 favorites]


It depresses me - speaking as a white person - that white people are apparently unable to deduce meaning from context clues. That Time article was kind of creepy and patronizing, as well.
posted by Frowner at 3:25 PM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


This slangsta rap all the kids are listening to is why the comma splice rate is so high!
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:23 PM on July 24


Eponysterical.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:25 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Sorry, cortex!
Also, the only thing I remember about the movie is Bronson Pinchot.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 3:26 PM on July 24, 2014


I thought it was Once Upon a Time Enchanted Forestese for "boy" (as in, what Rumplestiltskin calls his son in the tv show in the semi-Scottish or whatever accent that is supposed to be)?

The characters name is Baelfire. Bae is his nickname.

And, how, in a society where the names (e.g. Emma, James, Regina, Henry, Cora, etc) are essentially Western names, no one says "WTF? What kind of name is Baelfire?" is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by nooneyouknow at 3:28 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Great Big Mulp: "I prefer slangoliers."

Man, whatever happened to Cousin Balki?
posted by boo_radley at 3:30 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


bae hasnae caughtmae slaepen auld son
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 3:32 PM on July 24, 2014 [28 favorites]


Don't bae ridiculous.
posted by cortex at 3:34 PM on July 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Obvious Things Can Be Figured Out From Context Clues, New Research Suggests

*Tsk* Correlation does not equal causation, dude!
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:35 PM on July 24, 2014


I think you mean 'due'.
posted by mazola at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2014 [12 favorites]


from Time article: “Take the word weird, as in Weird Al Yankovic, the man who has had such fun parodying Pharrell of late. When first used, that word meant ‘having the power to control the fate or destiny of human beings.’ And that is certainly not the meaning we invoke when referring to Mr. Yankovic.”

[citation needed]


I wish he had more power over people's destiny, in fact. I think he'd do a great job.
posted by clockzero at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I would look up "bae" in Bright's Old English Grammar and Reader, but there is a cat asleep on my legs.
posted by eviemath at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Anyway, "bae" is clearly short for "Old Bay Seasoning." I mean, it's obvious!

If you are in New England.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:36 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


*Tsk* Correlation does not equal causation, dude!

But I ran the regression and correlation's r square with causation is, like, .99
posted by clockzero at 3:37 PM on July 24, 2014


you argot to be kiddin me
posted by stenseng at 3:38 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Bey. Bey. Bey.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:41 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


.
posted by mazola at 3:47 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Slow News Dae
posted by griphus at 3:48 PM on July 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


Um, isn't it just "baby" pronounced with only one syllable?

Not quite, at least in its usage. "The bae", for example, is a usage I've seen sometimes, but you don't really see "the baby" at all. If you plug "baby" in for "bae", it works occasionally but is awkward as hell more often than not. If I had to put my finger on the difference, it's that "baby" is something you really only say in the presence of (or really, directly to) whoever you're talking about, whereas "bae" is something you can use to talk about that person without them around or just in the general case.
posted by Copronymus at 3:48 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


sorta love that the link to beyonce's wiki page was already a visited link for me.
posted by nadawi at 3:48 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


TIME gives you a primer on slang for relationships with spinning attack discs: "This is What 'BaeBlade' Means."
posted by knuckle tattoos at 3:48 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, some of us are old. I didn't know what bae meant, and had never heard it used before, though the contraction of babe or baby makes sense to me and that was my guess on hearing it.

Also, I never knew that weird once meant "having the power to control the fate or destiny of human beings." Which puts an interesting spin on Shakespeare's "weird sisters" that I hadn't been aware of.

So a) I guess we need someone or something to explain things to us from time to time that maybe everyone else already knows. Even if it's something as dowdy as Time Magazine, and b) get the fuck off my lawn.
posted by Naberius at 3:51 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh Time Magazine. You used to be great. Next you'll be publishing apparently unedited overlong Dave Barry pieces about erotic novels.
posted by chavenet at 3:51 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


bæ- = ba-, be-, bea-
be- prefix. 1. specializes the meaning of a transitive verb (as in behōn, besettan). 2. makes an intransitive verb transitive (beswīcan, beðencan). 3. is privative (bedǣlan, belīðan). 4. does not alter the meaning (becuman).
posted by eviemath at 3:55 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Time magazine is not bae.
posted by drezdn at 3:55 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


The problem with Bae as a shortening of Baelfire is that it's pronounced slightly differently. But I guess that's the way with some nicknames, so why not.
posted by eviemath at 3:57 PM on July 24, 2014


Which puts an interesting spin on Shakespeare's "weird sisters" that I hadn't been aware of.

That's the definition Shakespeare was working with, from what I remember. Our contemporary definition wasn't being used in his time (as far as I know.)
posted by griphus at 3:57 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


(The spin is ours, not his, is what I'm trying to say.)
posted by griphus at 3:58 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Down with the gente Time is. Backwards runs the slang until reeled the mind. All over this shit Henry Luce would be.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:59 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh my goodness, Time must think their readers are idiots.

I can't.
posted by supermassive at 4:02 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Also, I never knew that weird once meant "having the power to control the fate or destiny of human beings." Which puts an interesting spin on Shakespeare's "weird sisters" that I hadn't been aware of.

See also Frank Herbert's concept of the Bene Gesserit "weirding way". As much fun as it is to imagine Lady Jessica cowing the Fremen by showing them that she can run a noodle from her nose to her mouth or so on.
posted by cortex at 4:03 PM on July 24, 2014 [11 favorites]


I think the baby explanation is dead wrong... Bae got back just doesn't have the same ring. Sir Mixalot would never approve.
posted by Benway at 4:10 PM on July 24, 2014


Oh Time Magazine. You used to be great.

No, it never was. Back in the Dark Ages, when I actually understood and used the then-current slang, they did one of these Timesplaining articles, and I realized two things:
1. They had no idea what they were talking about.
2. Any slang that they Timesplained was instantly transformed into something old people would awkwardly drop into conversation to demonstrate their hipness. Everyone who had been using the term immediately stopped using it, except to ironically mock the olds.

Time runs these articles periodically, and it's always a recap of 1. and 2.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:10 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor, Damn
posted by griphus at 4:13 PM on July 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


I thought this was an internet thing and didn't know this was a real word that people used (like, no one says LOL in real life unironically) until I was the only white person in the room a few weeks ago and got schooled.
posted by desjardins at 4:21 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


You remind me of the bae.
posted by Faint of Butt at 4:22 PM on July 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


this is why i don't learn new words.
posted by echocollate at 4:22 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh man that understanding of weird makes the oft-referenced "weirding ways" when used to refer to women in sff books make a lot more sense. I thought they were just making weird have some sort of alternate universe meaning.
posted by sio42 at 4:22 PM on July 24, 2014


On preview what cortex said.

I think I've read elsewhere than dune but can't be sure right now...
posted by sio42 at 4:23 PM on July 24, 2014


Bae caught me subscribin' to Time magazine *photo shows that I am clearly ordering a MLP Fleshlight from Amazon*
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:23 PM on July 24, 2014 [16 favorites]


The rise of "bae" seems to me clearly linked to the use of "Bey" for Beyoncé. Some folks argue that "Bey" is/should be pronounced "bee" but reading the word straight gives you "bae".

Not to say that people say "bae" because it means Beyonce, but I do think the phrasing was in the air and is part of bae's story.
posted by wemayfreeze at 4:25 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Whenever I hear Bae, i immediately think of Wee-Bey:
"Hey yo, listen here Bey, You come at the King you best not miss."
posted by wester at 4:26 PM on July 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


"I used to be with it, but then they changed what 'it' was. Now, what I'm with isn't it, and what's 'it' seems weird and scary." - Bae Simpson.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:36 PM on July 24, 2014 [9 favorites]


(like, no one says LOL in real life unironically)

My daughter, the actual rocket scientist, does that thing all the time. She rolls with a pretty geeky crew though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:46 PM on July 24, 2014


When Time Magazine notices a trend, it is officially over.
posted by larrybob at 4:49 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Someone help me out, because I could've sworn that Time did some kind of similarly clueless explaining-the-obvious several months back to a similarly scornful response from Black Twitter? or am I falling through cracks in the multiverse again.
posted by kagredon at 4:53 PM on July 24, 2014


hey bay bay
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:54 PM on July 24, 2014


“Time Tried to Explain the Word ‘Bae’ and Twitter Went in With #TimeTitles,” Yesha Callahan, The Root, 24 July 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 5:04 PM on July 24, 2014


Found it (it was ABC)
posted by kagredon at 5:10 PM on July 24, 2014


I've only seen this on Tweet Like A Girl and I, too, in that context, thought it meant "boy."

Everybody thinks the slang of their ingroup ought to be obvious "from context." It's not! If it were, it wouldn't be ingroup slang! To me it seems obvious what "orthogonal" and "modulo" mean, but I know that's not really true.
posted by escabeche at 5:12 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Oh wow. I read "bae" for the first time today on Reddit and thought it was a typo for "babe." Also I am right now drinking an egg cream, which I am pretty sure makes me both the oldest and whitest. Tough day.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:16 PM on July 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Bae? No way, guey!
posted by quazichimp at 5:18 PM on July 24, 2014


When Time Magazine notices a trend, it is officially over.

More like, "When a word appears in Pharrell's lyrics, it's officially inoffensive to suburbanites."
posted by belarius at 5:27 PM on July 24, 2014


jesus the internet has made whiteness so much more annoying
posted by youarenothere at 5:31 PM on July 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


That Time article was kind of creepy and patronizing, as well.

In the same creepy, patronizing constellation as the whole "arch, WASP-y, faux-naive deconstruction of rap lyrics" thing.
posted by mph at 5:33 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]




My mom has recently begun describing things she likes as "the bomb diggity". One of you guys will murder me before I go that far afield, right?
posted by middleclasstool at 5:43 PM on July 24, 2014 [14 favorites]


It depresses me - speaking as a white person - that white people are apparently unable to deduce meaning from context clues. That Time article was kind of creepy and patronizing, as well.

The readership of Time-- suburban, late middle aged-- is the sort that doesn't really spend much time caring about new words. This article struck me as one of those, "Explainer on what the kids are saying these days."
posted by deanc at 5:45 PM on July 24, 2014


Uncleozzy, no one would confuse me for hip, but I'm pretty young and I LOVE egg creams.
posted by Night_owl at 5:46 PM on July 24, 2014




“Time Tried to Explain the Word ‘Bae’ and Twitter Went in With #TimeTitles,” Yesha Callahan, The Root, 24 July 2014

Time Magazine Defined The Term "Bae" Because...Who Knows Why... But #TimeTitles is Hilarious

I picked up on the story at Clutch, which also posted their article earlier today. Their version isn't time-stamped so who knows whether one site cribbed it from the other.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:55 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Plant you now and dig you later, baes.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:09 PM on July 24, 2014


Errday I be catchin' bustas dropping' sounds and syllables like they're slippy or life's too short and people be like "what that fool say, I don't understang?" I just tell 'em haters to pull up they draws and be a mayne and let us keep sayne what they sayne. I like interpreting dialects and also it's funny when you understand Latin pronunciation of the "English" alphabet and people think you're an interpreter because you can interpret English spoken with slightly different vowel sounds. Fuck the haterzzzzzz
posted by aydeejones at 6:19 PM on July 24, 2014


Note: I had to Google "slippy" as I've never heard it used or never teased it out -- but apparently it is an informal pronunciation of "slippery." Imagine that
posted by aydeejones at 6:23 PM on July 24, 2014


So many fans of the defence and aerospace conglomerate.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:42 PM on July 24, 2014


Feh, I just assumed it was yet another Beyonce reference. Backronym indeed.

I wish he had more power over people's destiny, in fact. I think he'd do a great job.


God, can't you just imagine Weird Al as some kind of wacky destiny fairy? I'd love to see that. COME OVER TO MY HOUSE, WEIRD AL! TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIFE!
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:45 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


jesus the internet has made whiteness so much more annoying

YET ANOTHER PROOF FOR DIFFERENT ORDERS OF INFINITUDE
posted by allthinky at 6:56 PM on July 24, 2014


deanc: “The readership of Time-- suburban, late middle aged-- is the sort that doesn't really spend much time caring about new words. This article struck me as one of those, "Explainer on what the kids are saying these days."”
Hey, man! What are you trying to say? I'm sure the readership of Time is mostly retirees at this point. At one point my wife got a subscription for free and I'd just throw it away unread because it's gotten as bad as U.S. News and World Report or Reader's Digest has. Don't lump us robust persons of middle years in with the olds, man. I mean, I knew what "bae" meant already!

Let's look at the demographics
         Median Age
Magazine Adult  Men   Women
Time     43.6   42.6  44.7
Oh. God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God. Oh, God.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:18 PM on July 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Clearly people need words explained from other subcultures. Not everyone knows what "frell" means either.

Someone I follow on twitter was tweeting about waiting for "bae" to text him. I thought he was just dating/good friends with someone named Bae.

I'm also middle-aged, but definitely not suburban. (But in Canada, urban isn't a euphemism for black, because far fewer black people live downtown than live in the suburbs).
posted by jb at 7:29 PM on July 24, 2014


Poop. It means poop.

Which, honestly, makes reading all those tweets much more amusing...

(I actually have no idea if this is true, but I hope it is.)
posted by madajb at 7:37 PM on July 24, 2014


I've always found slippery to be far too formal a word, frankly.
posted by General Tonic at 7:38 PM on July 24, 2014


Sometimes I call my dog friend Betty "Boo", cuzza Betty Boop. Also Boocephus. I thought BAE was a defense contractor. I also am old.
'
posted by battleshipkropotkin at 8:15 PM on July 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


what
posted by Foosnark at 8:29 PM on July 24, 2014


I just hope the editors over at Time are really red-faced over this.
posted by magstheaxe at 8:43 PM on July 24, 2014


For all those wondering about the "weird" aside, the author was referring to wyrd, which I seem to remember learning about because of Baewulf.
posted by m0nm0n at 9:29 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Talk about overthinking a plae of beas.
posted by Decani at 2:31 AM on July 25, 2014 [4 favorites]




Oh, dg, another youth co-opted word my 65+ yo dad will be dropping all over facebook thanks to Timesplaining for old white people.
posted by _paegan_ at 5:48 AM on July 25, 2014


People over-explains a Twitter meme: #WeStillComing: Bride's Accidental Text Yields Surprise Wedding Guests and Trending Hashtag

Yeah, I noticed that cropped up--again--yesterday too. Not only did People over-explain it, they arrived late to the party. The image hit Reddit over a month ago and has made the rounds of several online tabloid sites before being officially validated by the likes of People.
posted by fuse theorem at 5:56 AM on July 25, 2014


To me it seems obvious what "orthogonal" and "modulo" mean, but I know that's not really true.

Everyone knows those! "Orthogonal" is the art of folding birds into new shapes and "modulo" is what you get when a one mod deletes something, another mod restores it, then they argue about it in the MeTa.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:05 AM on July 25, 2014


I've always found slippery to be far too formal a word, frankly.

Maybe so, but if you start leaving off syllables, you'll soon find yourself on a slippy slope.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:11 AM on July 25, 2014


BAE is not legal in Scrabble (USA), but it would be pretty useful. The -AE words are GAE HAE KAE MAE NAE SAE TAE WAE. Interestingly, all the ones that start with one-point tiles do not take an S at the end, and all the ones that start with >1 point tiles *do* take an S at the end.

And yes most of those have Scottish origins ...

Obviously I am the type of person who didn't know what bae meant lol
posted by freecellwizard at 7:16 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


>Rocket Fuel Malt Liquor, Damn

It's crizzappy!
posted by oakroom at 9:28 AM on July 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


because of Baewulf.

How is there not already a famous hip hop star named Bae Wulf?
posted by The World Famous at 9:31 AM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


or Bae Arthur?
posted by The World Famous at 10:12 AM on July 25, 2014 [2 favorites]


Next week, Time Magazine gets to the bottom of "cray-cray": supercomputer reference, or something different?
posted by Spatch at 12:31 PM on July 25, 2014


That's how I order 2 crawdad et-too-fay po-boys.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:16 PM on July 25, 2014


That fish cray.
posted by Night_owl at 1:48 PM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I thought the name of the Pharrell Williams song is "Come Get It, Dave." Boy is my face red.
posted by Dr. Zira at 2:34 PM on July 25, 2014 [1 favorite]


I had never seen it in writing and assumed everybody just really liked Michael Bay.
posted by The World Famous at 2:37 PM on July 25, 2014


That fish cray.

kanyefishsticks.gif
posted by Sys Rq at 4:50 PM on July 25, 2014


koeselitz: [citation needed]

If I recall my etymology correctly, weird is the modern child of wyrd, which is the Old Norse concept similar to "fate" only different because cultures do that. Essentially, wyrd is the inevitable results of what actions we take now (the individual person's wyrd would be their orlog) which cannot be avoided.

I tend to interact with these concepts mostly religiously/philosophically, so some paraphrasing may happen.
posted by Deoridhe at 5:40 PM on July 25, 2014


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