"Friend Is A Four Letter Word" as written by and John Mccrea....
To me
Coming from you
Friend is a four letter word
End is the only part of the word
That I heard
Call me morbid or absurd
But

To me
Coming from you
Friend is a four letter word
To me
Coming from you
Friend is a four letter word
End is the only part of the word
That I heard
Call me morbid or absurd
But

To me
Coming from you
Friend is a four letter word
When I go fishing
for the words
I am wishing you would say to me,
I am really only praying that
The words you'll soon be saying
Might betray

The way you feel about me
But to me,
Coming from you,
Friend is a four letter word


Lyrics submitted by Ice

"Friend Is a Four Letter Word" as written by John Mccrea

Lyrics © Cake - Stamen Music

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Friend Is A Four Letter Word song meanings
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108 Comments

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  • +5
    General CommentI had originally thought that this word was a negative end to a friendship.. and that the singer was talking about a friendship that no longer had meaning to him. I asked a friend of mine what he meant by four letter word and he said "I end" but that's two words.. and so he alluded it to swears.. however.. on taking a closer look and thinking about it.. to me it reveals itself to be about love (which conveniently happens to be a four-letter word). The "When I go fishing..." stanza tips off that he wants "his friend" to say something besides friend.. and that whenever she calls him a friend.. he just wants to friendship to end so the "love" can begin.. that way the song makes perfect sense to me.. but is almost completely the opposite from what I originally thought.
    Great song..
    Mopnuggeton February 20, 2002   Link
  • +5
    My InterpretationMany of you have said that this is about a guy that is in a lover type relationship that is ending. Though that may be the situation, I do not see that there is enough evidence in the lyrics to say that definitively.

    The term "four letter word" has been around for a while. Normally, when it is use, it is not meant literally. When one says 'I have a few four letter words I would like to tell him' or 'That movie has too many four letter words for me' then the term means ' vulgar insults and/or the using foul language'

    With that said...

    What I believe this song to mean is, A person (a guy in this case since the singer is male) is in a relationship (does not have to be sexual but could just be a friend) and the relationship has taken it's toll on him. Since there is no mutual benefit in the relationship he feels taxed by it. That feeling that he is being used or mistreated then makes him feel insulted... especially when his friend uses the word "friend" to excuse and condone the mistreatment.

    The singer now beyond the breaking point in the relationship makes the decision that the person being sang to is no longer a friend and ends the friendship... if there ever really was one.

    Similar to the saying "with friends like these, who needs enemies?"

    Just my thought on the song.
    Intrepimedon July 16, 2012   Link
  • +4
    General CommentThis song, while not necessariy negative, is very sad. It's about when someone in a relationship says "let's just be FRIENDS". He is saying that when his girlfriend said that, that the word friend was as hurtful and insulting as four letter word (aka a swear). Also when he says: "end is the only part of the word, that i heard" he is saying how being friends is unimportant to him, because their relationship has ended. He also hopes that she will change her mind and stop wanting to only be friends and get back together. ("that the words you'll soon be saying
    might betray the way you feel about me.") Definately one of Cake's best songs, both lyrically and musically.
    neenzabeenon June 28, 2002   Link
  • +3
    Song MeaningIt's about a guy who likes a girl, more then likely he loves her. She doesn't feel the same way, she sees their relationship as strictly platonic. Thus him saying "end is the only part of the word that i heard" because she's decided that that's all they'll ever be and he knows he can't just be her friend, it's too hard. "Friend is a four letter word" means she's put a negative stigma on this word that should be positive, but it's not enough for him, and so she's made their friendship tainted in his eyes. Like a consolation prize.

    "I'm really only praying
    that the words you'll soon be saying
    might betray the way you feel about me." - means that he's just aching for her to say she feels something more for him then friendship. He desperately wants her to change her mind.

    I had to listen to this song a few times. And then BAM it all became so clear to me. It's an amazing song. Gotta love cake.
    mandybeccaon January 30, 2009   Link
  • +2
    General Commenthey from me comming to you sheep is a five letter word
    TinaZiebaon June 23, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI had a hard time figuring out what this song was about. So i cheated a little and checked thier site when they were still offering Q&A. Its been a few years so i forgot the EXACT word they used, but there is a word to classify vulgar words (provided that they are four letters) not sure what it is, but to the speaker, "friend" is a vulgar FOUR LETTER WORD. This made alot of sense to me.

    God Bless CAKE ;)
    MorningStaron March 27, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentlike most cake song, this is best understood visually:

    two people sitting at a table, eyeing eachother with all the discomfort of a shared secrets. someone's travel bags sit in a corner, carefully packed, and contributing to the mobid mood.

    "i only want to be friends"
    SCIFIon May 31, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI've always thought that if you spelled it F-R-I-END it makes sense, END being the fourth letter. "end is the only part of the word that I heard". Someone he's pursuing telling him let's just be friends, or one person in a reltionship saying we're better off friends than a couple. that's just how I've always thought it to be.
    plurverton September 01, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentyou're all wrong. if you think about what 4 letter words could come out of friend, clearly the answer is FRED. he's singing this song to his friend fred.
    piratebayon January 22, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOkay I read some of these comments, a lot of them are wrong. This one is totally obvious.

    It's a break-up song. And she's giving him the old "but I still want to be friends" line. That's why it's like a swear word to him. I don't know why women can't figure that one out, but it's like adding insult to injury. I can't think of how to dumb down "end is the only part I heard" any more. To him it's just ending, he doesn't exactly see it as gaining a friend.

    The other verse is completely obvious too. He's basically saying "I wish you would tell me you love me anyway, even if you don't" ... like he would rather be lied to than have to face the truth.

    Anyway. To those who had other ideas... the music gives it away.
    ScreamingCactuson May 08, 2008   Link

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