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Friend of a friend

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Title: Friend of a friend  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: FOAF (ontology), Urban legend, GREE, Social networks, Social network aggregation
Collection: Social Networks, Social Sciences
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Friend of a friend

Friend of a friend (FOAF) is a phrase used to refer to someone that one does not know well, literally, a friend of a friend.

In some social sciences, the phrase is used as a half-joking shorthand for the fact that much of the information on which people act comes from distant sources (as in "It happened to a friend of a friend of mine") and cannot be confirmed.[1] It is probably best known from urban legend studies, where it was popularized by Jan Harold Brunvand.[2]

The acronym FOAF was coined by Rodney Dale and used in his 1978 book The Tumour in the Whale: A Collection of Modern Myths.[3]

The rise of social network services has led to increased use of this term. Six degrees of separation is a related theory.

Other languages

  • "Dúirt bean liom go ndúirt bean léi" (Irish proverb) — similar Irish language term literally meaning a woman told me that a woman told her that…
  • "L'homme qui a vu l'homme qui a vu l'ours" (French proverb) — similar French language proverb literally meaning The man who saw the man who saw the bear, in which the bear is never seen, only heard of.[4][5]
  • "Un amigo me dijo que un amigo le dijo…" (Spanish proverb) — meaning literally A friend told me that a friend told him that…
  • "Jedna paní povídala…" (Czech proverb)— similar Czech language proverb literally meaning One lady said…
  • "Teman kepada teman saya..." Bahasa Indonesia; literally meaning friend of my friend.
  • "Babaturana babaturan urang..." Basa Sunda; literally meaning friend of my friend. There is another version of this phrase in Sundanese language, "Babaturan dulur urang", which means "friend of my relatives".
  • "카더라..." Korean; Gyeongsang dialect word literally meaning Who said that…
  • "Diz-se que..." or "Dizem que..." Portuguese; literally meaning It is said that… or They say that…


  1. ^ "Birds of a feather, or friend of a friend? Using exponential random graph models to investigate adolescent social networks."
  2. ^ "Friend of a Friend"
  3. ^ Brunvand, Jan Harold (2012). Encyclopedia of Urban Legends, Updated and Expanded Edition.  
  4. ^ Rotten Tomatoes for 2013 firm "L'homme qui a vu l'homme qui a vu l'ours"
  5. ^ NY Times note on French film with name
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