About the N bro, used first as an address term and then as a referential N with several senses, and available as an element in N + N compounds: as the first element in Bro Code and bro subculture, as the second element in code bro (roughly) ‘guy into coding’ and (hat tip to Tyler Schnoebelen) the academic-cool character named Philosophy Bro. Then, thanks to Ben Barrett on ADS-L (on May 23rd), on to crypto bro / cryptobro, which looks like it might be a portmanteau of cryptocurrency (or cryptocoin(age)) and bro, but is probably better analyzed as a straightforward compound of the clipping crypto and the N bro.

Background. There’s a Page on this blog on brocabulary, but it’s about portmanteau words with first element bro-, not the free-standing N; it lists and briefly describes brocabulary postings on this blog (which do not attempt to cover all bromanteaus, only the few that catch my fancy for one reason or another).

Some postings that mention the N bro; the second is the important one.

on 11/10/14, “Monday quartet”: #1, a Zits with vernacular address terms dude, bro, man used in teenage conversation

on 4/28/16, “Bad bro days”: uses of address term bro:

The story of the address term bro in relatively recent years begins with its use by black men to black men, roughly (but not exactly) like the widely used American buddy — a term of male affiliation. It then spread into the wider culture, serving as a mark of male solidarity. This is what I called in a 4/12/16 posting “good”, positive, bro. But male solidarity tends to come with a dark side: rejection of anything perceived as feminine, played out as sturdy misogyny and homo-hatred in general; and the elevation of boys’ clubs (formed for whatever reasons) to boys-only clubs, aggressively hostile to women and to men perceived as inferior. When these guys use bro to address (or refer to) one another, then we’ve got what I called “bad”, negative, bro.

Regular use of bad bro between men in groups, for instance by fraternity boys and so-called brogrammers, has led to a steady pejoration of the term for people outside those male groups; bro is now a tainted term for many people, calling up unpleasant images of aggressive masculinity.

on 3/27/17, “JoBroButts, Hills Bros. coffee, and gaybros”, with a section on the organization Gaybros

on 7/19/17, “On offer at Daily Jocks”: bro as address term, esp. in ‘sup, bro?

on 5/22/18, “brotastic”: consders the possibility that brotastic isn’t a portmanteau of bro and fantastic, but is instead independent bro + the libfix –tastic

From NOAD on the N as it has escaped from primarily black use into general use:

noun bro: chiefly North American [a] a male friend (often used as a form of address): they’d never choose a girl over their bros | not cool, bro | you can lean on your close bros. [b] a young man, especially one who socializes primarily with his male peers and enjoys lively, unintellectual pursuits: shirtless bros with plaid shorts throwing frisbees | lacrosse bros.

These two senses are given, somewhat more colorfully, in the Urban Dictionary entry for bro by Lt. Dungheap (from 4/1/06), cited by Barrett on ADS-L.

[a] is neutral bro or “good bro“: ‘male friend, buddy’ — Dungheap sense 1, glossed as ‘friend (commonly used in greetings)’

[b] is ‘member of the bro subculture’ (on the bro subculture, see the Wikipedia entry), tending towards “bad bro“, referring to a frat-boy lout — Dungheap’s sense 2, glossed scornfully as ‘an alpha male idiot’, with a savage rambling depiction:

This is the derogatory sense of the word (common usage in the western US): white, 16-25 years old, inarticulate, belligerent, talks about nothing but chicks and beer, drives a jacked up truck that’s plastered with stickers, has rich dad that owns a dealership or construction business and constantly tells this to chicks at parties, is into extreme sports that might be fun to do but are uncool to claim (wakeboarding, dirt biking, lacrosse), identifies excessively with brand names, spends a female amount of money on clothes and obsesses over his appearance to a degree that is not socially acceptable for a heterosexual male.

The NOAD entry should have a subsense [c] referring to men (esp. adult white men) in general, approximating slang dude.

The three subsenses shade into one another, and it’s often hard to tell whether you’re dealing with ‘friend, buddy’, ‘bro subculturista’, or ‘guy, dude’ — and if the second, where the referent lies on the bro-toxicity scale.

Philosophy Bro, the Bro Code, code bros. From the bro’s own site:


Philosophy Bro explains complex ideas of philosophy in easy to understand language, created by Tommy Maranges, the author of Descartes’ Meditations, Bro.

Essays in philosophy, in a cool-guy bro voice.

Contemplating Philosophy Bro led me to realize that I had somehow failed to post explicitly about the Bro Code (although I’ve mentioned it several times). From Wikipedia, with a crucial bit boldfaced:

In popular culture, the Bro Code is a friendship etiquette to be followed among men or, more specifically, among members of the bro subculture. The term has been popularized by Barney Stinson, a character from the television show How I Met Your Mother. Katherine Connor Martin, head of content creation at Oxford Dictionaries, recognized Stinson as “the quintessence of a certain iteration of the contemporary bro”. [The Bro Code is then a popular-culture version of what Michael Kimmel, writing about American masculinity, calls in all seriousness “the guy code” (along with “the boy code”).]

The notion of an unwritten set of rules that govern the relationship between male friends is present in popular culture at least since 1991. In the Seinfeld episode “The Stranded”, which aired on November 27 that year, Jerry Seinfeld says the following monologue, in one of his stand-up bits:

All plans between men are tentative. If one man should suddenly have an opportunity to pursue a woman, it’s like these two guys never met each other ever in life. This is the male code. And it doesn’t matter how important the arrangements are.

“Bros before hoes” (that is, “friends before women” or “place thine higher priorities on brethren, not wenches”) is a popular slang expression about how men should not abandon their male friends in order to pursue or embark on relationships with women.

The “bros before hoes” expression is generally regarded as the “golden rule” of male friendship, and it has been common slang at least since 2001. It was used by The Office character Michael Scott in “A Benihana Christmas”, and was later popularized by Barney Stinson.


Inspired by the notion of Bro Code that they developed in their sitcom, How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, and one of the show’s writers, Matt Kuhn, wrote a book called The Bro Code. Published by Simon & Schuster, the book covers 150 rules written in articles of what “bros” should or should not do … Greig Dymond of calls the book “a tongue-in-cheek guide to etiquette for horn-dog dudes.”

And from bro code to code bro, occasionally attested as ‘guy into coding’: “HTML code bros, I have a problem” (link); and a school coding team, the Eastern Code Bros from Eastern Intermediate School in Beaver OH.

crypto bro. (Sometimes spelled solid, as cryptobro.) Background from Wikipedia:

A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a controversial digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets. Cryptocurrency is a kind of digital currency, virtual currency or alternative currency. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money and central banking systems. The decentralized control of each cryptocurrency works through distributed ledger technology, typically a blockchain, that serves as a public financial transaction database.

Bitcoin, first released as open-source software in 2009, is generally considered the first decentralized cryptocurrency. Since then, over 4,000 altcoin (alternative coin) variants of bitcoin have been created.

A crypto bro / cryptobro is then a bro (in one of the senses of the word) who’s into crypto, that is, cryptocurrency.

Barrett roughly organized his cites for crypto bro under the three senses for bro listed above. Some of his finds:

For subsense [a] ‘friend, buddy’: the website “Your number one guide to navigate cryptocurrency world”, which advertises itself as “your bro for crypto”:

(#3) The CryptoBro logo

We at CryptoBro are here to help facilitate your investment decision-making process through rigorous analyses based on our years of experience…. (link)

For subsense [b] ‘bro subculturista’ playing the alpha male role: in the Urban Dictionary entry for crypto bro:

by VinixxiniV on 1/1/18: A person with a weak grasp on cryptocurrency/blockchain applications, yet has formed very strong opinions on the “best” ones. Often observed parading their involvement in crypto and arguing with other crypto bros.

by BitLord on 4/21/18: A young man on twitter who is an absolute hype beast for crypto-currencies and makes long term predictions, often backed by memed and self-fulfilling financial charts.

And in a in YouTube video “Slayin’ It (Bitcoin Song)”, which you can watch here.

For subsense [c] ‘guy, dude’: from the Quartz website:

(#4) “The Venn diagram between libertarians and crypto bros [‘guys into cryptocurrency’] is so close it’s basically a circle”

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