What BAE Means and How to Use It

Now you know what you're talking about

What Does 'Bae' Mean?
Photo made with Canva.com

So, maybe you've already seen a ton of strange acronyms like YOLOBTFO, GPOY and CTFU posted all over social media, in your text messages and plastered on meme pictures... but have you embraced "BAE" yet?

BAE stands for:

Before Anyone Else.

Why People Say BAE

BAE is an acronym that's 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 as an alternative to babe or boo on social media.

How People Use BAE Online (and Offline)

People who use bae tend to replace someone else's name with it while sometimes (but not always) omitting the word "my" 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. You might hear bae pronounced out loud the same way you would say the word bay.

It's weird, but it's happening. Many of these online acronyms and abbreviations are now officially part of the English language and can be found in Oxford Dictionaries.

Examples of BAE

"Waiting for bae to come home so we can catch up on the latest episode of OINTB!"

"Me and bae just set our wedding date! So excited!"

"Just had the best date ever tonight with my bae!"

How It All Started With BAE

According to Know Your Meme, the term bae can be traced to as far back as 2003 from the first user-submitted definition for it in the Urban Dictionary. Its exact origin is unknown, but it wasn't until 2011 when someone tweeted that the term was an acronym which stood for "before anyone else."

Why BAE Is So 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?

It's not exactly clear, but the slow build up in curiosity and confusion over the term's meaning and pronunciation discussed over social media, which really took off throughout 2013 and the first half of 2014, seemed to have generated enough word-of-mouth spread to reach all corners of the social web. Sometimes that's all you need to turn something into a big deal online.

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 been discussed in videos by popular YouTube creators, incorporated into meme photos, captured in text message screenshots and typed into tweets, Facebook statuses, Tumblr posts and more.

BAE in the Mainstream Media

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 really propel the popularity of bae across social media.

Like most memes and trends that go viral, the bae trend happened very quickly after it was quietly built up for years before gaining 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.

That's just the way it goes sometimes.