A boyfriend is a person's regular male companion in a romantic and/or sexual relationship, although normally not in long-term committed (e.g. marital) relationships, where other titles (e.g. husband, partner) are more commonly used.
The term "guy friend" can refer to a male non-romantic and non-sexual friend.
At times, since 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.
Though nuanced, there is a significant difference between girlfriend and boyfriend on one hand, and girl friend and boy friend on the other. In a strictly grammatical sense, a girlfriend or boyfriend is an 'individual of significance' with whom one shares a relationship.
In the early to mid 20th century, in the US, women were often interviewed by "gentleman callers", single men who would arrive at the home of a young woman with the hopes of beginning a courtship. Boyfriend thus had implications of an illicit relationship (as sexual and romantic relationships outside marriage were generally frowned upon). As more casual courtships and relationships grew common and accepted, the term lost its pejorative intonation.
In literature, the term is discussed in July 1889 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".
- An older man, e.g. sugar daddy, "gentleman caller", "gentleman friend", main man, man, old man, while others may suggest a young man (e.g., baby).
- In popular culture, slang, internet chat, and cellphone texting, the truncated acronym bf is also used.*Gender-indiscriminate terms also apply, e.g., true love, and gender-neutral ones like date, escort, steady or suitor; furthermore, non-gender specific euphemisms such as admirer and companion.
- Leman or lemman, 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 remarkably usually meant mistress.
- ^ Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English , published 23 June 2005, University of Oxford, ISBN 978-0-19-861022-9 edition
- ^ "Girlfriend". WordNet. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=girlfriend. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- ^ "Boyfriend". WordNet. http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=boyfriend. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- ^ BF - Definition by AcronymFinder
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