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Friends with benefits

  • Friends with benefits is a fairly recent idiom. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom friends with benefits where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

     

    Friends with benefits is an idiom that describes a relationship between friends that also involves a sexual relationship. The assumption is that the sexual relationship does not imply a deeper commitment than simply friendship. The expression friends with benefits seems to have been first used by Alanis Morissette in her song, Head Over Feet, published in 1995. However, in the song, the relationship that is being discussed is a deep and long-term relationship, exactly the opposite of what the phrase means today.

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    Examples

    Here we go, team: Justin and Mila hang out on the couch in skimpy clothes, goof on rom-coms (meta!), and ultimately decide to be—you guessed it—“friends with benefits.” (Vogue Magazine)

    While it’s a commitment-minded hookup site, many members also use it to find one-night stands, friends with benefits, and other romantic alternatives. (Globe Newswire)

    This week Hollywood star Mila Kunis revealed that her relationship with Ashton Kutcher started off as mates having a bit of fun – just like in her 2011 film Friends With Benefits and in his romcom No Strings Attached. (The Sun)


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