Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search
See also: Guy, GUY, guþ, and Guy.



  • enPR: , IPA(key): /ɡaɪ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -aɪ

Etymology 1[edit]

Named from Guy Fawkes (1570–1606), an English Catholic hanged for his role in the Gunpowder Plot.


guy (plural guys)

  1. (Britain) An effigy of a man burned on a bonfire on the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot (5th November).
  2. (dated) A person of eccentric appearance or dress; a "fright".
    • 1845, Henry Cockton, The Love Match, W.M. Clark, p. 77:
      “But shan’t I look a guy?”
      “Not a bit of it. Jist the very kick!”
    • 1865, Margaret Oliphant, Miss Marjoribanks, Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, vol. 97, p. 316:
      I am always a perfect guy, whatever I wear, when I sit against a red curtain. You mean say that a woman always knows when she’s good-looking, but I am happy to say I know when I look a guy.
    • 1885, W. S. Gilbert, The Mikado, “As Some Day It May Happen”:
      And the lady from the provinces, who dresses like a guy,
      And who “doesn’t think she dances, but would rather like to try” […].
    • 1978, Jane Gardam, God on the Rocks, Abacus 2014, p. 138:
      Why are you so ashamed that her child saw you looking a guy, sprawled on the floor, spilling cakes?
  3. (colloquial) A man, fellow.
    • 1873, ‘Mark Twain’, The Gilded Age:
      “You don't say so? I thought he was some guy from Pennsylvania.”
    • 2007, Manook Sarkisyan, Jack and the Journey through Time, page 219:
      "Hi, guys. Did you have a fun time at school?" said Katherine.
      "Yeah we did," said Stacy.
    • 2016, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, The Guardian, 9 March:
      Let’s be honest. “Have I kissed too many guys?” is not a question that mature, sexually active women are likely to be asking Google.
  4. (especially in the plural) A person (see usage notes).
    • 2009, Carole McCaskill, WHAT COLOR IS MY RIBBON? : An Ovarian Cancer Success Story[1]:
      My “Guys” actually constitute a collection of people that range from my nearest and dearest girlfriends, my immediate and extended family, co-workers and acquaintances that care.
    • 2010, Meg Blackburn Losey, The Secret History of Consciousness: Ancient Keys to our Future Survival[2]:
      My “guys,” as I call the group, are loving and hilarious, serious and the epitome of love. They are both male and female in their presence and have never had the experience of inhabiting a physical body—they are beings of light.
    • 2014, Joel Williamson, Elvis Presley: A Southern Life[3]:
      She was one of the guys, but they were also very much aware that she was an attractive young woman.
  5. (colloquial, of animals and sometimes objects) Thing, creature.
    The dog's left foreleg was broken, poor little guy.
    • 2011, Richard S. Stripp Sr., Mommy, I Wish I Could Tell You What They Did To Me In School Today[4]:
      I just want to play with my guys. My guys are my friends, they're stuffed animals or little action figures I have a lot of them.
  6. (colloquial, figuratively) Thing, unit.
    This guy, here, controls the current, and this guy, here, measures the voltage.
    This guy is the partial derivative of that guy with respect to x.
  7. (informal, term of address) Buster, Mack, fella, bud, man.
    Hey, guy, give a man a break, would ya?
Usage notes[edit]
  • In plural, guys is not completely gender-neutral but it may refer to people of either sex in some circumstances and forms; the greeting “Hey guys”, or any vocative utterance, can generally refer to people of either gender. Referring to a group as “guys” usually means a group of men or a mixed-gender group.
  • When used of animals, guy usually refers to either a male or one whose gender is not known; it is rarely if ever used of an animal that is known to be female.
  • In some varieties of US and Canadian English, you guys revives the distinction between a singular and plural you, much like y'all in other varieties; in this sense, guys is gender-neutral.
Derived terms[edit]


guy (third-person singular simple present guys, present participle guying, simple past and past participle guyed)

  1. (intransitive) To exhibit an effigy of Guy Fawkes around the 5th November.
  2. (transitive) To make fun of, to ridicule with wit or innuendo.
    • 2003, Roy Porter, Flesh in the Age of Reason, Penguin 2004, p. 278:
      Swift and other satirists mercilessly guyed the unlettered self-importance of the peddlars of such soul-food, exposing their humility and self-laceration as an egregious and obnoxious form of self-advertisement (s'excuser, c'est s'accuser).
    • 2006, Clive James, North Face of Soho, Picador 2007, p. 187:
      Terry Kilmartin [...], applauded for every ‘um’ and ‘ah’, knew that he was being guyed and had the charm to make it funny.
  3. (theater, transitive) To play in a comedic manner.
    • 2000, John Southworth, Shakespeare the Player:
      To guy the speech in the manner of an old-fashioned 'ham' for cheap laughs....

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old French guie.


guy (plural guys or (nonstandard) guies)

  1. (obsolete, rare) A guide; a leader or conductor.
  2. (chiefly nautical) A support rope or cable used to guide, steady or secure something which is being hoisted or lowered.
  3. (chiefly nautical) A support to secure or steady something prone to shift its position or be carried away (e.g. the mast of a ship or a suspension-bridge).
Derived terms[edit]


guy (third-person singular simple present guys, present participle guying, simple past and past participle guyed)

  1. To equip with a support cable.

See also[edit]


  • guy at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • guy in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911.