bromance noun earlier than 2004

‘Hugo’ has provided evidence from 2001 which has now been verified in print.

Bromance refers to an affectionate but non-sexual relationship between two men and OED editors are currently researching the term, with an intention to publish in a future update. Various claims have been made for the word’s first use.

One was that it appeared in a 1990s skateboarding magazine Big Brother, but we contacted the editor and so far we haven’t been able to confirm the reference.

So far, the earliest definitive evidence we have found is from the Albuquerque Journal of February 2004, but anecdotal evidence suggests it dates from before this date.

Can you find any printed examples before February 2004?

Posted by OED_Editor on 22 March 2013 14.53
Comments: 8

  • hugo_oed

    Here’s a possible 4th July 2001 from the signature of user “Neithan” on the [RPG]Board forums:

    “If offering your audience a choice in outcome was the greatest narrative invention since Gilgamesh invented the bromance, you’d think it would have shown up and become prominent by now.”

    • hugo_oed

      The same quotation appears in The Complete Broisms Dictionary on a page dated Thu, Jul 10 2003 1:00 pm of Transworld Surf Magazine’s website:

      bromance—Romance between bros.

      Example: “It looks like there’s a little bit of bromance between Ryan and Matt.

      bromancing the stone (Courtesy of J. Faris from San Diego) —The bro who only wears Volcom.

      Example: “Brad’s bromancing the stone—he’s rocking Volcom from head to toe again.

      A later, updated version includes an introduction, so it may be worth checking back issues or getting in touch with Transworld Surf Magazine in case they have earlier evidence in print:

      Invented in 1999 by Chris Cote from Transworld SURF Magazine, Broisms, started as a small column in the magazine called “Significant Surf Slang”. The original column featured all types of surf slang until Chris, along with the Transworld SURF staff started blending words or names that had the oh sound in the word and could be related to surf slang—for example, the word Romance was turned into the word Bromance: meaning, two bros who seem romantically linked because they’re always together like a couple. Since it’s conception, Broisms have become one of the most beloved parts of Transworld SURF and borrowed by Hollywood and popular media ad nauseum. While it may seem that there are no Broisms left, there are, in fact, every time a dude gets pitched trying to get tubed, a Broism is born.

      • Are you Googling the word with the custom date range turned on?

        • hugo_oed

          Yes and no.

          First I searched Google Groups’ archive of Usenet with a date range, and incrementally modified/narrowed it to find the first example in Usenet: the definition in “The Complete Broisms Dictionary” posted to rec.windsurfing in July 2003.

          Then I searched for that dictionary using normal Google with no date range, and found the later Transworld SURF Magazine dictionary (I forgot to include the link before; here it is). I then either saw the earlier July 2003 one on the same results page, or searched their site specifically it using a query something like: site: bromance

          In fact, I mustn’t have done the site: search before because doing so just now led me to an earlier example!

          An article titled WORD 3-7 was posted on Sun, Oct 28 2001 2:09 pm includes:

          Top 44 Bro-isms

          Ever since we broke out with our first bro-isms, we never really took the time to define the actual word “bro.” There’re actually a few ways to use the word. For many people, the word “bro” means a close friend or acquaintance.

          At TransWorld SURF, it’s a purposely overused term that makes fun of surfers who use the word a bit too much. The following’s a Top 44 list of the new and old bro-isms we like best. Are you a bro?

          2. bromance-Romance between bros.

          The date seems right: the same page also says “… send us your entry by September 4, 2001…”, “Back in 1999, when Apple launched its revolutionary new G4 processor…”, “The final product, named the G4 Titanium, is sleek, powerful, and infinitely smaller than the original G4 of two years ago.”

          • OED_Editor

            This is a very promising find. Our researchers will attempt to confirm the 2001 quotation in the print version of the magazine.

          • Bryn_OED

            Hugo’s find began:

            Top 44 Bro-isms
            Ever since we broke out with our first bro-isms …

            So, it’s likely to be a productive starting point.

            In case it saves the OED researchers any time when confirming the earlier usages, that are likely to follow from Hugo’s post, the most immediate would seem to be:

            Surf SlangYes, More Bro-isms
            Hasbro¿A bro who used to be cool, but isn’t anymore.Example: “Aaron used to be such a bro, but now he’s just a hasbro.”
            Marshmellbro¿A bro that’s fat, as in overweight.Example: “Johnny’s my one big friend, you know, the marshmellbro.”
            Sterebro¿Two bros who always hang out and talk like each other at the same time.Example: “Ryan and Matt are always together, they’re full-on sterebros.”
            Camelbro¿When a wetsuit pulls your nutsack into something that resembles a camel’s toe.Example: “Don’t look at my nuts, man. I got camelbro!”
            Yeabro¿A dude who answers every question with “Yeah, bro!”Example: “Don’t ask Beau anything. He’s such a yeabro, you can’t get a straight answer out of him.

            Anon (2001) Word , Transworld, 4th September

            It, too, implied an earlier article

  • hugo_oed

    The earliest definition on Urban Dictionary is 13th January 2004 (currently definition 17 of 69, 592 upvotes, 575 downvotes):

    1. an emotional attraction between bros. often the attraction is expressed physically through wrestling, nuggies, and head locks. in the more advanced stages hugging, snuggling, spooning, and even kissing may be included.

    ‘bro, before j.lo got in the way, ben affleck and matt damon had a total bromance going on.’

    by pedro calhoun Jan 13, 2004

    (The next definition wasn’t made until May 2005, but it’s the most popular.)

  • Ness Yuille

    There is evidence of a 2010 Scottish wedding speech in by a (Scottish) groom, who raised a glass not to his bride, but to his best man, with whom he had previously lived for 10 years. Said groom was not a surfer, but was very involved in snowboarding and snowboard culture (as was his best man and former flatmate). If there are no other examples of its usage in everyday (or almost everyday) communication in the UK, I would be more than happy to upload a copy of the speech. (I do, however, imagine there are earlier examples than 2010.)