Boy - Non-function Specific Analogous Terms

Non-function Specific Analogous Terms

Boys, in the strict or a wider sense, are often informally referred to by analogous or metaphorical terms. The literal connotations, which may be ironic or downright pejorative, have often been eroded by common use. Some terms are unisex, with or without (at least historical) preponderance of use for boys:

  • Cub, pup(py) and whelp compare boys to the young of predatory animals, the slang tadpole even to that of an amphibian;
  • Buck, another animal young, usually refers to a sexually adventurous male youngster
  • Loon, originally an (idle) lout, has got -mainly in Scotland- unrelated specific meanings, including boy, simpleton and looney person
  • Sprout compares to a plant's young shoots
  • References to the boy's generally lighter physique than a man include stripling 'slender youth' and -rather insulting- slang like half-pint or small-fry
  • More specifically, shaveling (or in slang shaver) refers to boys' lesser hair growth than men's before - and densification around puberty
  • Various terms refer to children's, often especially boys', lack of adult manners (e.g. "snot(ty) nose(d) (kid)") or to often mischievous behavior, e.g. "rascal", also by analogy with animals, e.g. "monkey", "urchin" (as 'prickly' as a hedgehog); "(spoiled) brat" refers to such undiscipline for lack of firm upbringing.
  • Furthermore, common boys' names have also been used metonymically to stand for boys and/or men in general, as in 'every Dick and Tom'.

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