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I'm a non-native speaker and I'd like to know if it has been grammatically acceptable in the UK or the US to write "best friend" as "bestfriend". I've seen such spelling used a lot on the Internet.

Has "bestfriend" been considered one word instead of two (best friend)? Or is it still incorrect to spell like so?

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    Whether the usage is "Acceptable" depends on the context. My guess is that this is a back-formation on "bestie" or "BFF" so perhaps in certain contexts (chats, texts) this might be acceptable. I (US Speaker) would not write them as one word in any context, growing up in black and white.
    – rajah9
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 12:47
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    When enough people are wrong, they are right - at the moment, there are not enough people being wrong. "Best friend" is two words.
    – Greybeard
    Commented Jul 1, 2020 at 18:08
  • Why do you want to abuse someone else’s language?
    – David
    Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 19:36
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    Girlfriend/boyfriend are fine, and best friend might be going that way.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jan 13, 2023 at 10:18
  • Aside from texting and its own shortcuts, u can consider that bestfriend would be useful if it said something that best friend didn't. It doesn't yet. But boyfriend is different from 'boy friend'. Commented Sep 5, 2023 at 15:09

3 Answers 3

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The words best and friend combine to form a compound word, that is best friend. 'Best' is an adjective and 'friend' is a noun. So best friend is an example of an adjective/noun compound word. Bestfriend, although accepted widely is somewhere awkward. 'Best friend' should be used. Both Oxford dictionary and Merriam Webster dictionary include the word 'best friend'. It is an example of open compound word.

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Grammar How has a good explanation, and states that only "best friend" is an acceptable spelling:

You should always keep “Best friend” as two words. It’s correct to do this because we use “best” as an adjective to modify the word “friend.” This shows that someone is our closest friend. There is never a reason to group the words, so “bestfriend” is incorrect.

(It offers some other reasons, too.)

Merriam-Webster, as well as other dictionaries, also list "best friend" as a noun.

Just like you wouldn't write "bestfriendforever", you shouldn't write "bestfriend".

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Best friend is indeed two words. Best and friend should not go together, even though best is an adjective and friend is a noun, but in proper English spelling it will be best friend, not bestfriend.

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