Boyfriend: Wikis


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A woman and her boyfriend at the 2006 AVN Awards.

A boyfriend is a person's regular male companion in a romantic or sexual relationship[1], though normally not in long-term committed (eg. marital) relationships, where other titles (e.g. husband, partner) are more commonly used. In addition, the term "boy friend" (or in some areas "guy friend") can refer to a male non-romantic and non-sexual friend. The term can refer to a woman's or a man's romantic or sexual partner.



A man with his romantic boyfriend (see Homosexuality).

Partners in such non-marital relationships are also sometimes described as a significant other, life partner or simply partner, especially if the individuals are cohabiting. At times, since "boyfriend" and "partner" mean different things to different people, the distinctions between the terms are subjective, and which term is used in a relationship will ultimately be determined by personal preference. In 20th century United States, women were often interviewed by "gentleman callers", single men who would arrive at the home of a young woman with the hopes beginning a courtship.

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. A girl friend or boy friend, however, is simply a friend identified on the basis of gender. Since the pronunciation is the same, these words may occur to be false friends. Unlike girlfriend, with boyfriend it would be archaic to use it to refer to non-romantic friends (and likewise men do not use girlfriend to refer to their female non-romantic friends).

Word history

A girl with her boyfriend.
Boy friends (note the spacing) are not of a romantic nature.

In the past it had implications of an illicit relationship (as any romantic relationships outside marriage were generally frowned upon). It is now a generally accepted term, however, no longer having negative connotations. An earlier usage in print, dating from July 1889, is discussed 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."


  • Certain terms suggest 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").
  • Gender-indiscriminate terms also apply, e.g., true love and some more specific terms such as cavalier, wooer, and gender-neutral ones like date, escort, steady or suitor; furthermore, non-gender specific euphemisms such as admirer, companion,
  • leman or lemman, an archaic word for "sweetheart, paramour," from Medieval Briatian 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
  • In popular culture, slang, internet chat, and cellphone texting, the truncated acronym "bf" is also used. [2]

Notes and references

  1. ^ Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English , published 23 June 2005, University of Oxford, ISBN 978-0-19-861022-9 edition
  2. ^ BF - Definition by AcronymFinder

External links

See also

Simple English

For other uses, see Boyfriend (disambiguation)

A boyfriend is a male partner in a romantic relationship which is not a marriage (for example, a couple who is dating). A boyfriend can also be a male friend in a friendship.

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