girl

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English[edit]

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Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

A group of girls in Sri Lanka.

From Middle English girle, gerle, gyrle(young person of either sex), of uncertain origin. Probably from Old English *gyrle, *gyrele, a diminutive form of Proto-Germanic *gurwijaz (compare North Frisian gör(girl), Low German Gör, Göre(child of either sex), German Göre(young child), dialectal Norwegian gorre, dialectal Swedish garre, gurre(small child)), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵʰer-(short)[1] (compare Old Irish gair(short), Ancient Greek χρεώ(khreṓ, need, necessity), χρήσθαι(khrḗsthai, to need), Sanskrit ह्रस्व(hrasva, short, small)).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

girl ‎(plural girls)

  1. A young female human; specifically (in contrast to boy), a female child, teenager, or young adult; by extension, a young female animal
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, in The Celebrity:
      No matter how early I came down, I would find him on the veranda, smoking cigarettes, or [] . And at last I began to realize in my harassed soul that all elusion was futile, and to take such holidays as I could get, when he was off with a girl, in a spirit of thankfulness.
    • 2013 July 19, Mark Tran, “Denied an education by war”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 1:
      One particularly damaging, but often ignored, effect of conflict on education is the proliferation of attacks on schools [] as children, teachers or school buildings become the targets of attacks. Parents fear sending their children to school. Girls are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence.
    Amanda is a girl of 16.
  2. Any woman, regardless of her age. (see usage notes)
  3. A female servant; a maid. (see usage notes)
  4. (uncommon) A queen (the playing card.)
  5. (colloquial) A term of endearment. (see usage notes)
  6. A girlfriend.
    • Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Girl from Hollywood
      There isn't any guy going to steal my girl!
    • 1996, Elizabeth Wong, Kimchee and Chitlins: A Serious Comedy about Getting Along (page 74)
      I took my girl to the cinema to watch your American movies.
  7. A daughter.
    Your girl turned up on our doorstep.
  8. (Britain, dialect, obsolete) A roebuck two years old.
  9. (US, slang) Cocaine, especially in powder form.
    • 1969, Iceberg Slim, Pimp: The Story of My Life, Cash Money Content (2011), ISBN 9781451617139, page 43:
      She had taught me to snort girl, and almost always when I came to her pad, there would be thin sparkling rows of crystal cocaine on the glass top of the cocktail table.
    • 1977, Odie Hawkins, Chicago Hustle, Holloway House (1987), ISBN 0870673661, page 175:
      Elijah nodded congenially to the early evening regulars in the Afro Lounge, headed straight for the telephone hung midway between the mens and womens, his nose smarting from a couple thick lines of recently snorted girl.
    • 2005, K'wan, Hoodlum, St. Martin's Press (2005), ISBN 0312333080, page 185:
      After about an hour or two of half-ass sex and snorting girl, Honey was zoned out. [] She flexed her still numb fingers, trying to find a warmth that didn't seem to come. Cocaine always made her numb.
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:girl.

Usage notes[edit]

  • (any woman, regardless of her age): Calling a grown woman a "girl" may be considered either a compliment or an insult, depending on context and sensibilities. In some cases, the term is used as a euphemism for virgin, to distinguish a female who has never engaged in sexual intercourse (a "girl") from one who has done so (and is a woman).

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Look at pages starting with girl.

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, s.v. "girl" (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2002).

See also[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Most common English words before 1923: wish · gone · times · #334: girl · during · several · either

Anagrams[edit]