It’s a cross between friend and family. In French ami =friend, famille = family. I’ll be you see what I did there. Amifam. It’s a good word.
The thing is, there are very few words in English to describe the strata of friendships. This is a tremendous injustice to our language (and relationships) if you ask me.
When you hear someone refer to another as "family," you automatically assume they are close, which, frankly, isn’t always the case. Like, at all. On the other hand, when you hear someone describe someone as a "friend," that could be anywhere from a life-long confidant to the dude you hire to clean your gutters once a year. I mean, okay, sure, there are "best friends" and "old friends" and "good friends," but really, shouldn’t there be a category for people who are family, real family, by choice and not by birth or law or legal relationship?
No shit there should be.
The way I see it, there friends who you call in the middle of the night to bail you out of jail, and there are friends who you can call to bury the body –that one would be an amifam. They just show up with hot coffee and a shovel. Only question, "Where do you want me to dig?"
Amifam. It’s a good word.