I overheard a mother correct her child who said something to the effect of
There was a new kid in my class today and I friended him.
The mother said befriended and I was inclined to mentally agree (given the kid was maybe six or seven, it's unlikely that he was referring to social networking).
However, with a little Googling, I discovered an article from The Atlantic which suggests that 'Friend,' as a Verb, Is 800 Years Old.
- "Make no purses, for to friend yourself therewith." -- the Guide for Anchoresses, early 13th century
- "And after soon friended were the King David of Scotland and Stephen, king then of England." -- Andrew of Wyntoun, Chronicles, c. 1425
This answer regarding the be prefix offers:
The general form is:
be + [quality]
and the corresponding meaning is:
to turn into + [quality].
So, I guess my question, then, is what is the difference between the verbs to friend and to befriend? Was the kid right?