Ah, one of my most treasured
of all initialisms
. BFE can mean many things to many people, but its two primary uses are colorful
descriptions of distances that make one huff and puff. Or at least, in theory - It's typically used as hyperbole
People have often corrected me on usage of this phrase, and it's understandable why. There are two different root phrases for this expression, each requiring differing sentence structure. In the end, though, you're nonetheless saying the same thing - You just hiked your ass a sizeable distance, or you're purporting to have done so.
Like many expressive, profane, and simply accurate abbreviations (see FUBAR, SNAFU, FIGMO), BFE has its origin in the United States Armed Forces. While pinpointing the creation of the phrase is a bit difficult, it has been suggested it was likely coined in the Navy.
BFE as a noun
"Of course it took me forever, I just had to park way the hell out in BFE!"
"We're not going to the Star Southfield. It's in BFE."
"Jebus, man, I didn't realize you lived out here around BFE."
In this instance, BFE is being used as a noun, more specifically, a place. BFE in this situation is typically decoded to mean "Bumfuck, Egypt." The implication is not only that Egypt is a very far away from where one is uttering the phrase, but that there is some out-of-the-way, off-the-beaten-path, backwater redneck hick location within Egypt known as Bumfuck.
Not as commonly used, but nonetheless worth mentioning, are other similar roots. "Butt-Fucking Egypt," depicting a place so distant that every one of its inhabitants raves of the joy of anal sex, and "Bumblefuck Egypt," which infers meaning similar to Bumfuck. Bumfuck, of course, mostly likely being an abbreviation of bumblefuck itself.
You'll know for sure one is speaking of Bumfuck, Egypt when one prefaces the expression with a preposition.
BFE as a sentence fragment
"Sorry I was late getting here. I couldn't find a close spot and ended up BFE."
"You wanna go where? You realize it's BFE, don't you?"
"So what's it like living BFE?"
When phrased thusly, BFE represents the expression, "Beyond fucking Egypt." The implication isn't as interesting as that of BFE as a noun, but nonetheless, it expresses that something is so far away it's miles removed from a remote location such as Egypt.
Notice the lack of preposition preceding the expression. This is because, as those of us schooled in grammar know, "beyond" itself is a preposition, and thus preceding the statement with one becomes redundant.
These two usage methods cause consider conflict among those who know only the one root of the initialism, at least, until the other is revealed, at which point both parties sneer at each other and get in an argument over which root is better.
Personally, I think they're both quite wonderful, and hope that someday everyone will know both meanings, and alter which they use back and forth so as to keep from falling into a descriptive rut.
Other less common uses of this abbreviation include but are not limited to the following. Nodeshellers, start your engines.
Bachelor of Forest Engineering
Bacterial Filtration Efficiency
Base Flood Elevation
Battle for Endor
Beacon for Freedom of Expression
Beam Forming Electrode
Bert Fucking Ernie
Beyond Fucking Extinct
Big Fucking Ego
Big Fucking Emergency
Big Fucking Erection
Biofeedback Foundation of Europe
Blown Film Extrusion
Board for Fundamental Education
Boss Free Environment
Bureau for the Far East
Bureau Français de l'Epilepsie
Buyer Furnished Equipment