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Freem first appeared on The Colbert Report on Tuesday January 9, 2007 as the word featured next to Stephen during the opening of the show. It is the fifth word to have had the honor of appearing next to Stephen.
Guts had felt it may have meant one of the following:
- The mushed together version of free 'em used in reference to Bush surging the Troops to Liberate Iraq. It was introduced the same night The Word was Texas Hold 'Em.
- It could also seen as the truthy way to spell 'freedom,' because there's nothing dumb about freem. Read this out loud if you're not an it-getter.
- Yet others in the Colbert Nation supported the soldier philosopher and wondered if it's "Freedom" without the "DO" part.
Will we ever get solid confirmation from the Colbert Report as to the meaning of this vague and bold new term? One would hope so.
The word freem has also been used as an abbreviation for freemasons.
The true origin, though, may be a 1955 Steve Allen novelty song ("What Is a Freem?") that was a satire of the famous poem by Alan Beck (recorded by Arthur Godfrey in the early 1950s), "What is a Boy?" The same poem was also satirized by the British show, "That Was The Week That Was":
- "...The most famous 'TW3' sketch, 'What Is a Mum?', was written by Dennis Potter and David Nathan from an idea by Jack Rosenthal. Using a format introduced on Jackie Gleason's recordings ('What Is a Boy?', 'What Is a Girl?'), popular during the 1950s and also satirised by Steve Allen ('What Is a Freem?')..."
A certain webcomic artist has also said that he is the rightful creator of freem, and has challenged Colbert to a game related to the subject matter of the comic.