‘Gleba’ to ‘Phalange’, 8 Words ‘Friends’ Added to Our Vocabulary
‘Unagi’ and ‘pivot’ are some of my favourites, what are yours?
On 22 September, the American cult sitcom Friends, will complete 25 years and believe it or not - people still relate to that show. The characters, dialogues, set up - they’re evergreen and etched in the memories of many fans even today.
Phrases like “We were on a break!” or “Joey doesn’t share food” and many more have found their way into everyday conversations. And just like these phrases, there are also a lot of words that probably would not make sense if it hadn’t been for Friends. Remember Phoebe’s Regina Phalange? Or Ross’ ‘Unagi’? The cultural impact of Friends is huge even today. So here’s a little trip down the memory lane. 8 words that would never exist if it wasn’t for Friends.
Paleontologist (how can we forget?) Ross Geller has played a huge role in adding words to our vocabulary. One such word is ‘unagi’ which is actually the Japanese word for ‘freshwater eel’. But in the show, Ross claims to know Karate and confidently says that ‘unagi’ actually means being in a “total state of awareness.” This is probably the second most used dialogue said by Ross, as the clear winner would always be the iconic phrase “WE WERE ON A BREAK!” I am sure all of us have at least one friend who has watched Friends and made the ‘unagi’ reference in public (unless that friend is you, of course).
The literal definition of ‘pivot’ is a fixed point supporting something that turns or balances. In the show, the word ‘pivot’ in fact has been used in the right context. But the incident itself is so funny that the word has become an integral part of the Friends vocabulary. And in case you haven’t guessed it yet, it’s the episode where Ross is trying to take his couch upstairs with the help of Rachel and Chandler.
This one’s iconic. If you’re Phoebe’s alter ego, then you could probably use it whenever and however you would like to. You just have to ensure that it fits the context. The first time Phoebe used ‘Phalange’ was when Ross said Rachel’s name instead of ‘Emily’ at his wedding. So, in the face of impending disaster, Phoebe saves the day by pretending to be Ross's brain doctor, ‘Doctor Phalange’.
Phoebe has used the word ‘phalange’ as her surname. She once also called it a part of an aeroplane and convinced a passenger that the plane was not fit to fly. Even though an aeroplane has no such thing as a ‘phalange’. The literal meaning of this word is ‘another term for phalanx’. And here’s a fun fact for you - one of the most Google-d questions regarding the word ‘phalange’ is “Does a plane have a Phalange?”
The word ‘transponster’ was first used in the episode where Monica and Rachel put their house at stake to beat Chandler and Joey at a quiz on their lives. The final winning question for the girls is “What does Chandler do?” and, out of nowhere, a clueless Rachel desperate to win the game says that Chandler is a “transponster.” “That’s not even a word!” Monica yells back at her. Which is true. But, somehow, the meaningless word has found a vaguely specific connotation in real life. Many use it to describe jobs that are incredibly dull or boring.
The word ‘woopah’ was born out of Chandler’s endless sarcasm and humorous comments. In one of the episodes, when Monica helps Ross in getting things done, Chandler exclaims ‘woopah’. According to him, the word is meant to sound like a whip. Although Joey’s idea of what a whip sounds like is very different from that of Chandler’s.
6. ‘Moo Point’
When Rachel, in need of advice on her love life, reaches out to Monica and Phoebe, Joey chimes in with his “moo point”. In his own words, moo point is “like a cow’s opinion. It just doesn’t matter. It’s moo.” If Joey existed in 2019, I’m sure he’d realise that ‘moo point’ is all that matters.
Rachel’s daughter Emma’s first word was ‘Gleba’. However, Ross argued that the word does not actually exist. To which Rachel responded with the fact that she did not know all the words. So when Rachel went ahead and looked up the word in a dictionary to prove her point, she was pleasantly surprised to find that the word does exist. The meaning of ‘gleba’ is the spore-bearing inner mass of certain fungi. Upon hearing this, Ross, a proud father, exclaimed that Emma would become a scientist for sure. Well, if Ross was an Indian parent, he’d definitely want his daughter to pursue science in 11th grade!
8. 'Potato Patato'
Don’t really know if this was first coined in the show or not, but as a Friends fan I’d like to confess, there’s nothing complete without phoebe getting involved. Phoebe calls the Divorced Men’s Club, the ‘Sad Man’s Club’. When Ross tries to step in and make Phoebe see the difference between the two, Phoebe is quick to respond with, “Potato Patato.” And who c an argue with Phoebe, right?
I am sure there are many who still haven’t watched Friends and if you are one of them, I want to say - firstly, how did you manage to reach here?
Secondly, thanks for the click I guess?
Thirdly, you should go and watch Friends.
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