Boyfriend

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A boyfriend is a regular male companion in a romantic and/or sexual relationship.[1] This is normally a short-term committed relationship, where other titles (e.g. husband, partner) are more commonly used for long-term committed relationships. A boyfriend can also be called an admirer, beau, suitor and sweetheart.[2]

Scope

A woman with her boyfriend.
A man with his boyfriend.

Partners in committed non-marital relationships are also sometimes described as a significant other or partner, [3] especially if the individuals are cohabiting.

Boyfriend and partner mean different things to different people; the distinctions between the terms are subjective. How the term is used will ultimately be determined by personal preference.[4][5]

A 2005 study of 115 people ages 21 to 35 who were either living with or had lived with a romantic partner notes that the lack of proper terms often leads to awkward situations, such as someone upset over not being introduced in social situations to avoid the question.[6]

There is a significant difference between girlfriend and boyfriend, and girl friend and boy friend. In a strictly grammatical sense, a girlfriend[7] or boyfriend[8] is an 'individual of significance' with whom one shares a relationship.

Word history

The word dating entered the American language during the Roaring Twenties. Prior to that, courtship was a matter of family and community interest. Starting around the time of the Civil War, courtship became a private matter for couples.[9] In the early to mid 20th century in the US, women were often visited by "gentleman callers", single men who would arrive at the home of a young woman with the hopes of beginning a courtship.[10] The era of the gentleman caller ended in the early 20th century and the modern idea of dating developed.[9]

In literature, the term is discussed in July 1988 in Neil Bartlett's, Who Was That Man? A Present for Mr Oscar Wilde. On pages 108-110, Bartlett quotes from an issue of The Artist and Journal of Home Culture, which refers to Alectryon as "a boyfriend of Mars".

Synonyms

  • An older man may be referred to as a sugar daddy, a well-to-do man who financially supports or lavishly spends on a mistress, girlfriend, or boyfriend.[11]
  • In popular culture, slang, internet chat, and cellphone texting, the truncated acronym bf is also used.[12]
  • Leman, an archaic word for "sweetheart, paramour," from Medieval British leofman (c.1205), from Old English leof (cognate of Dutch lief, German lieb) "dear" + man "human being, person" was originally applied to either gender, but usually means mistress.[13]
  • The term young man was at some periods used with a similar connotation. For example, in the 1945 film "My Name Is Julia Ross" the female protagonist, seeking a secretarial job, is asked if she has "a young man"[14] - where in later films a similar question would have referred to "a boyfriend".

See also

References

  1. ^ Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English , published 23 June 2005, University of Oxford, ISBN 978-0-19-861022-9 edition
  2. ^ Thesaurus.com. "Boyfriend". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  3. ^ Thesaurus.com. "Significant other". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Wavey, Davey. ""Partner" vs "Boyfriend"". 
  5. ^ Goldstein, Meredith (15 June 2009). "Partner? Boyfriernd? Maybe?". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Jayson, Sharon (23 June 2008). "Adults stumble over what to call their romantic partners". USA Today. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  7. ^ "Girlfriend". WordNet. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "Boyfriend". WordNet. Retrieved 11 November 2010. 
  9. ^ a b Hirsch, Elaine. "The History of Dating and Communication". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  10. ^ Hunt, Lana J. "Ladies and Gentleman". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  11. ^ Merriam-Webster. "Sugar daddy". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  12. ^ BF - Definition by AcronymFinder
  13. ^ The Free Dictionary By Farlex. "Leman". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Aliperti, Cliff. "My Name is Julia Ross (1945) starring Nina Foch and George Macready". Retrieved 6 May 2012. 

External links