(1)   A female human offspring
"Her daughter cared for her in her old age"
(2)   A youthful female person
"The baby was a girl"
"The girls were just learning to ride a tricycle"
(3)   A young woman
"A young lady of 18"
(4)   A friendly informal reference to a grown woman
"Mrs. Smith was just one of the girls"
(5)   A girl or young woman with whom a man is romantically involved
"His girlfriend kicked him out"


Origin unknown. The suggests an Old English } < (diminutive of }) < . In that case, one cognate is Low German , (or these words could have been borrowed into English). Another possibility (after Robinson 1967) is Old English .


  1. A young female (in contrast to boy), usually a child or adolescent.
    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. A boy with girl-like qualities, especially squeamishness.
    Stop being such a girl and punch back.
  5. A queen (the playing card.)
  6. A term of endearment. See usage notes.
  7. a girlfriend.
    I'm going to meet my girl over there.
  8. a daughter.
    Your girl turned up on our doorstep.

Usage notes

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 whereas a woman is one who has done so.