Jon Lighter to ADS-L on the 19th:

CNN describes Anthony Bourdain’s recent hearty, he-man adventure in Newfoundland as “brotastic.”

Jon seems to have found the word notable, but then he probably doesn’t hang out with people who use it. I don’t either, but then I have a side interest in brocabulary, enough so that there’s a brocabulary Page on this blog, with links to earlier postings. In any case, I haven’t posted about it before, so a few notes.

The formative bro has a number of uses as an independent word, originally as a free-standing noun; then verbed in expressions like bro it up and bro down; and in compound Ns — as first element in things like brolovers, as second in things like gaybros. But it has truly flourished in playful portmanteaus, some just one-shot jokes (brotato chip), some serving as labels for referents of some significance in the world of bros (bromance).

Formally, the portmanteaus are of two types:

those where some part of bro is shared with the initial part of the the word it combines with: brocabulary, bromance, brotato chip, brojob, bromosexual,

those where bro replaces phonologically distant material in the initial part of the word it combines with: bro-toon, brostravanganza, (possibly) bromanteau, (apparently) brotastic

The phonological distance between bro and the fan of fantastic would appear to be a strike against brotastic. But –tastic has a rich life of its own as a morphological formative, a libfix, so that brotastic can be seen as the combination of the independent element  bro with suffixal –tastic, rather than as any kind of portmanteau.

The story of –tastic is told in my 1/20/15 posting “Once -tastic, now -astic”, with an inventory of –tastic examples (mostly from Grant Barrett), among them fun-tastic (1939-42), shoe-tastic (1966), swim-tastic (1970), and much more recent cocktastic, dicktastic, bangtastic (plus, not in that posting, fucktastic). (Earlier examples tend to the commercial, more recent ones to the sexual.)

In any case brotastic has been around at least since 2007, in:

What “Bro-tastic” activities were you involved in today?

(where the hyphen and the surrounding quotes both suggest that the writer saw the word as a recent invention).

Then in 2008, “Little Italy’s Bro-Tastic Hero” and in 2012, “The 8 Most Bro-Tastic Bands of All Time”.

Examples of brotastic are closely associated with the activities and interests of bros (especially young ones) and those who share some of their enthusiasms and attitudes (like Anthony Bourdain). So we get the YouTube channel Brotastic Trick Shots, which advertises:

Welcome to Brotastic! On this channel, you will see amazing Frisbee and basketball [and soccer and ping pong] trick shots! If you like what you see in this video, we recommend that you subscribe so that you won’t miss our next awesome shot!

(awesome and brotastic are natural companions.)

And the Brotastic Nerdom site — a bro nerd kingdom:


And a gaming site that’s posted this review:


At its core, Broforce is a run and gun platformer; but it is so more than just that. The game pays homage to 80’s and 90’s action movies where a hero would rack up an immense body count, dishing out the pain to all that would stand in his way. The game delivers humorous wordplay, a massive amount of carnage and dozens of Bro’s to play with.

brotastic seems to belong mostly to that segment of bro culture where young guys are looking for dozens of bros to play with, in gaming, sports enthusiasms, and nerdish pursuits. Not Jon Lighter’s world, or mine.

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