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Boy

The meaning of «boy»

A boy is a young male human. The term is usually used for a child or an adolescent. When a male human reaches adulthood, he is described as a man.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a boy is "a male child from birth to adulthood".[1]

The word "boy" comes from Middle English boi, boye ("boy, servant"), related to other Germanic words for boy, namely East Frisian boi ("boy, young man") and West Frisian boai ("boy"). Although the exact etymology is obscure, the English and Frisian forms probably derive from an earlier Anglo-Frisian *bō-ja ("little brother"), a diminutive of the Germanic root *bō- ("brother, male relation"), from Proto-Indo-European *bhā-, *bhāt- ("father, brother"). The root is also found in Norwegian dialectal boa ("brother"), and, through a reduplicated variant *bō-bō-, in Old Norse bófi, Dutch boef "(criminal) knave, rogue", German Bube ("knave, rogue, boy"). Furthermore, the word may be related to Bōia, an Anglo-Saxon personal name.[2]

Historically, in the United States and South Africa, "boy" was not only a "neutral" term for domestics but also a disparaging term towards men of color; the term implied a subservient status.[3][4][5][6] The use of the term "boy" to describe men of color has not always been used as an insult, however; for example, Thomas Branch, an early African-American Seventh-day Adventist missionary to Nyassaland (Malawi) referred to the native students as boys:.mw-parser-output .templatequote{overflow:hidden;margin:1em 0;padding:0 40px}.mw-parser-output .templatequote .templatequotecite{line-height:1.5em;text-align:left;padding-left:1.6em;margin-top:0}

There is one way by which we judge many of our present boys to be quite different from some of those who were here long ago: those that are married have their wives here with them, and build their own houses, and all are busy making their gardens. I have told all the boys that if they wished to stay here and learn, those that had wives must bring them. This is having a good effect on them. They stay longer, and are more attentive to their work and their studies.[7]

Multiple politicians – including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Kentucky Congressman Geoff Davis – have been criticized publicly for referring to a black man as "boy."[5][6]

During an event promoting the 2017 boxing bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor, the latter told the former to "dance for me, boy."[8] The remarks led several boxers – including Mayweather and Andre Ward – as well as multiple commentators to accuse McGregor of racism.[8][9][10][11]

Some boys defy traditional gender expectations. Gender-expansive[a] and transgender boys can face bullying and pressure to conform to traditional expectations.[12][page needed] Some intersex children and some transgender children who were assigned female at birth may self-identify as boys.[13]

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