Use of the word boy for a grown up man (especially in English)

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Hedgehog12345
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Use of the word boy for a grown up man (especially in English)

Postby Hedgehog12345 » 2020-06-18, 13:44

Hello,
i am new to this board and English is my third language (sorry, didn’t know how to change my profile which says english is my first). However:

I am confused about the use of the word boy in English language. Is this considered to be offensive or not?

Is it offensive if

*an older individual calls a younger male boy?
*an individual calls a person of the same age boy?
*an individual calls an older male boy?
*I assume it is always offensive if a female is called boy?

Is it offensive if
*an individual calls those working under him boy?
*an individual calls their supervisor at work boy?

Is it offensive if an individual calls a soldier “soldier boy“ or can it be a compliment?

I posted here because I thought it was more of a cultural than a language thing. Thanks a lot.

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Saim
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Re: Use of the word boy for a grown up man (especially in English)

Postby Saim » 2020-06-18, 19:34

I don't believe I've ever used the word "boy" as a term of address. I think I could at a push imagine it being appropriate for a sexual or romantic partner.

Maybe it used to be appropriate in more contexts, or is still appropriate in some more peripheral dialects, but at present I don't think it's particularly common at all.

I could imagine "soldier boy" being flirtatious/a sort of banter or condescending depending on the context. I don't know how it could be a compliment.

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linguoboy
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Re: Use of the word boy for a grown up man (especially in English)

Postby linguoboy » 2020-06-18, 19:52

Hedgehog12345 wrote:I am confused about the use of the word boy in English language. Is this considered to be offensive or not?

It is extremely offensive if used by a white person to address a Black male of any age. Seriously: never, ever do this.
"Richmond is a real scholar; Owen just learns languages because he can't bear not to know what other people are saying."--Margaret Lattimore on her two sons

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Gormur
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Re: Use of the word boy for a grown up man (especially in English)

Postby Gormur » 2020-06-18, 20:31

It's used among adult friends, although to me at least it seems sort of stigmatized based on the type of people I've heard use it

I think it's also, or originally was at least a Southern US slang word so you don't expect to hear it elsewhere even when you do

My boy is also slang for my guy. That can be sort of ambiguous for my drug dealer, arms dealer. I guess you won't be encountering that too often but it could be useful. In the Southeastern US, boy is street slang for heroin

Just covering all the bases :wink:
Eigi gegnir þat at segja at bók nøkkur er hreinferðug eðr ønnur spelluð því at vandliga ok dáliga eru bœkr ritnar ok annat kunnum vér eigi um þœr at dœma

Hedgehog12345
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Re: Use of the word boy for a grown up man (especially in English)

Postby Hedgehog12345 » 2020-06-18, 22:28

Saim wrote:I could imagine "soldier boy" being flirtatious/a sort of banter or condescending depending on the context. I don't know how it could be a compliment.


The context is: I overheard an American person who was trying to talk my language talking about a group of military officers who were present at a party and he used a word that basically translates to soldier-boys but done in a respectful way. In my language that sounds a bit offensive but I think it was not an intention to be offensive so I didn’t say anything.

I have wondered ever since if soldier-boy might be a respectful term in the English language.

I also noticed that Americans often call younger individuals they do not know my boy or my girl.

I think in my culture most would use the word only for children or a close friend... or sometimes also for those working under him but some might consider it offensive under that circumstances.

Oh, our national football team is also known as “our boys“.

Hedgehog12345
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Re: Use of the word boy for a grown up man (especially in English)

Postby Hedgehog12345 » 2020-06-18, 22:35

Gormur wrote:It's used among adult friends, although to me at least it seems sort of stigmatized based on the type of people I've heard use it:


I am curious: what type of people are they?

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Gormur
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Re: Use of the word boy for a grown up man (especially in English)

Postby Gormur » 2020-06-19, 0:53

Hedgehog12345 wrote:
Gormur wrote:It's used among adult friends, although to me at least it seems sort of stigmatized based on the type of people I've heard use it:


I am curious: what type of people are they?
I don't tend to pin names to people but I think roughneck is a fairly good, accurate term

Everybody knows what it means but it's not a rude word. Another meaning is an oil rig worker :)
Eigi gegnir þat at segja at bók nøkkur er hreinferðug eðr ønnur spelluð því at vandliga ok dáliga eru bœkr ritnar ok annat kunnum vér eigi um þœr at dœma


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