Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the seven hundred and eightieth installment where we examine three comic book legends and determine whether they are true or false.
Betty and Veronica coined the term “frenemy”
The friendship of Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge had always been a fascinating one. They’ve been paired together in stories since the early 1940s and have shared a comic book title regularly for the past seventy years (and it is disturbing as I type that to note that 1950 is now seventy years ago) and yet they also are often set against each other, as you can see on a few of these covers from over the years…
In 1960’s Archie’s Girls, Betty and Veronica #53, in a story “A Twist of Hate,” Betty tells Jughead of a new term she came up with to describe her relationship with Veronica, noting that she is Betty’s “frenemy.”
She is a friend to Betty in everything else, but an enemy when it comes to Archie.
Reader Pat B. wrote in to ask if Betty was being accurate when she says that it is was a new term.
It’s actually one of the earlier printed usages of the term, but no, it was used in print seven years earlier by Walter Winchel to describe how the Americans should be treating the Soviet Union.
However, by most estimations, the term was coined by the British socialite Mitford Sisters during the 1940s, to describe one of her young playmates, but then adopted as a useful general term, especially in connection to the sisters themselves, who were all drastically different politically (some fascist, some communist, some upper crust, some much less so)…
However, Jessica Mitford didn’t put the term into print until the 1970s, as far I can tell. Still, it seems like most people agree that they DID use the term a lot.
In any event, since Winchell used it in the early 1950s, the answer is still no, Pat, but it’s a heck of a fascinating question!
In the latest Movie Legends Revealed – Was Derek Zoolander almost killed off at the end of Zoolander?_______________________________________________________________________________
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In the latest Comic Book Legends Revealed, see whether Betty and Veronica actually coined the term 'frenemy'