Dearest

< Previous | Next >

just-me

Member
France, French
Is it OK to start a message to a friend of the other sex with "Dearest + first name"? In a British context.
He's a very dear friend, but just a friend. ;) I don't want any confusion.

Thanks for helping! :)
 
  • pyan

    Senior Member
    English, UK, London
    This is fine for a good friend of either sex. There are no sexual overtones to "dearest."




    Edit: I write this as a member.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    I am loath to disagree with a moderator on such a basic question, and am posting this mainly to see what other foreros think. I personally find the platonic or non-sexual use of an epistolary dearest to be generally archaic, and reminiscent of Austen and Dickens, though there are presumably young girls who still write to Dearest Mummy (but no longer Dearest Mama) and similarly to other close relatives. I myself have to be content with Hi, Dad!
     

    JeanDeSponde

    Senior Member
    France, Français
    Dear Arrius, I'm not sure - are you questioning the use of dearest in general (as quaint etc.), or do you vary from Pyan's opinion that there is no sexual overtones in it:confused:?
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    That there is 1) a general tendency not to use this endearment as a form of address in general except in love-letters and, increasingly less frequently, to close relatives, and 2) an implication of sexual interest if used to a non-relative of the opposite (or in the case of sexual inversion, the same) sex.
     

    Camis12

    Senior Member
    England, English
    You're probably right that's it's less frequently used nowdays than it has been, but in my opinion not inappropriate for a very close friend of either sex. (I use it :) )
     

    livvie

    Senior Member
    Gibraltar, English
    I don't think there is any sexual innuendo with Dearest but I believe that it implies 'heartfelt' emotions which is why it is more intense than Dear. That being said I sometimes use Dearest when writing to my family or good friends and if just-me's friend is a good friend then why not! :)
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    OK, so I am right to some extent. However, perhaps one should still be quite circumspect in using this term. When I write to a particular old (male) friend who has greatly helped over the last 25 years and is a really good bloke, I sign off with the word Love, which I think is rather unusual under the circumstances, but it would never occur to me to call him dearest. He, though quite fond of me but more conventional, replies with with best wishes. Also, I would refer to him as my best friend not my dearest friend.
     

    livvie

    Senior Member
    Gibraltar, English
    Yes I think one good bloke calling another good bloke 'dearest' is a bit quite unusual although signing off with 'love' doesn't shock me at all! For 'just-me' who is writing to someone of the opposite sex and writing in a foreign language I can't really see the problem with 'dearest'. 'Dear' would obviously be the safest bet but does lose the charm that comes when reading a letter written by someone in their second language.
     

    just-me

    Member
    France, French
    Thank you so much everyone! It helps a lot. I guess I'll stick to the dear for now. :) Some of my (American) female friends do start their emails to me with "Dearest X" sometimes, but the context is different then.
    Merci ! :) I really appreciate all your help and exactness.
     

    Arrius

    Senior Member
    English, UK
    It's different with women: no one is surprised when they show affection, even physically, to one another, but at least as far as tne Anglo-Saxon male is concerned, such behaviour may cause comment and speculation.
     

    clairet

    Senior Member
    England & English (UK version)
    Just another voice to agree with Arrius and Livvie. It's always safe to stick to "Dear" (a lover might find it underwhelming but that's about all; at th other end of the scale, Amnesty International uses it to write to even the bloodiest dictators).
     

    Alipeeps

    Senior Member
    UK
    UK - English
    I am loath to disagree with a moderator on such a basic question, and am posting this mainly to see what other foreros think. I personally find the platonic or non-sexual use of an epistolary dearest to be generally archaic, and reminiscent of Austen and Dickens, though there are presumably young girls who still write to Dearest Mummy (but no longer Dearest Mama) and similarly to other close relatives. I myself have to be content with Hi, Dad!
    Also agreeing here - there are no real sexual overtones to using dearest in this way but it is somewhat archaic and it does carry implications of the kind of very deep, platonic love one reads about in Jane Austen novels! :)

    It's just not a form commonly used anymore and just somehow seems... a little off. In these modern - and increasingly informal - times, I would consider that in common usage dear has taken the place of dearest, in addressing someone to whom one feels a close friendship, and the every day use of dear is more often than not replaced in modern correpondence by a casual, "Hi"
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top