[ bey ]
/ beɪ /
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an affectionate term used to address or refer to one’s girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, etc.: I love you, bae.
adjective bae·er, bae·est.
greatly admired or loved.
very cool; great. His accent is so totally bae!
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of bae

2000–05, Americanism; probably a shortening of babe or baby

usage note for bae

Like similar uses of babe and baby , the word bae may sometimes be disparaging or offensive when used to refer to someone considered attractive or when used to address a stranger or casual acquaintance.

Other definitions for bae (2 of 3)


Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
Bureau of American Ethnology.

Other definitions for bae (3 of 3)


Bachelor of Aeronautical Engineering.
Bachelor of Agricultural Engineering.
Bachelor of Architectural Engineering.
Bachelor of Art Education.
Bachelor of Arts in Education.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does bae mean?

Bae is a slang term for one’s significant other or an object of affection, often used to address them, e.g., I love you, bae!

Where does bae come from?

Bae is first recorded in the early 2000s, appearing in hip-hop lyrics around 2005 before spreading into mainstream slang in the 2010s. It appears to be a Black English shortening or pronunciation of babe or baby as terms of endearment, though a popular folk etymology spread in the early 2010s claiming bae is a backronym for before anyone else.

Bae skyrocketed in 2012 when tweeter @NostrandAv posted an image of herself pretending to be asleep, captioned “Females Be Like ‘Bae Caught Me Slipping’,” imagining one’s bae fondly taking a picture of them sleeping. Copious other social media users followed suit and posted photographs of themselves pretending to sleep with a variety of bae-related captions.

Further boosting the prominence of bae was musical artist Pharrell’s 2014 track “Come Get It Bae,” which features the lyrics: “Come get it bae / You wanna ride it, my motorcycle.” By 2014, mainstream media and corporate culture had picked up on bae to the extent that a Twitter account, @BrandsSayingBae, formed to mock commercial efforts perceived to be capitalizing on youth slang like bae.

In 2017, a Turkish chef, with his flair for seasoning, was a viral sensation known as Salt Bae.

How is bae used in real life?

While originating in Black slang, bae has become widespread in youth culture, on social media, and in online popular publications as an affectionate way to refer to a significant other, especially a boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or other romantic partner.

Bae may also be extended to other loved ones including family members, friends, and pets. Some also use bae as a reference to an actual baby or younger sibling.

Bae is often used familiarly without any personal pronouns (e.g., Bae got home early! vs. My bae got home early!).

Occasionally, people use bae to mean “excellent” (e.g., my tacos were bae), marking a shift in the slang from noun to modifier. And yes, that means you can say baer and baest.

Bae is not to be confused with BAE Systems, a leading military defense and aerospace company based in the U.K.

More examples of bae:

“Which Bey and Jay are you and your bae?”
—Mary Sollosi, Entertainment Weekly (headline), April 2018

“We may go thru things….but we still a team at the end of the day #Bae 😍”
—@Miss_Crissy39, April, 2018


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.

How to use bae in a sentence