boyfriend (plural boyfriends)
- A male partner in an unmarried romantic relationship.
- 2012, “Boyfriend”, performed by Justin Bieber:
- If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go / I can take you places you ain’t never been before.
- A male friend.
In contrast to its female equivalent, girlfriend, which is also often used to describe a woman's close female friends, the term is not that often used in reference to non-romantic relationships. Boyfriend is a relatively modern term, and in the past has had implications of an illicit relationship (as sexual and romantic relationships outside marriage were more commonly frowned upon). It is now a generally accepted term and has no negative implications per se.
An adult man in a non-marital relationship is sometimes referred to instead as a significant other or partner, especially if the two partners are living together. Because boyfriend and partner mean different things to different people, the distinctions between the terms are subjective, and which term is used in a relationship will ultimately be determined by personal preference.
Separating the word into its two components boy friend avoids the romantic implication nowadays, although boy friend used to mean the same as boyfriend does now. However, British and Australian men usually refer to a male friend as a mate. Similarly, Americans and Canadians use the term buddy.
- (rare) boyfriend
|Inflection of boyfriend (Kotus type 5/risti, no gradation)|
|Possessive forms of boyfriend (type risti)|