General Question

flo's avatar

What is the cut-off age for referring to a teen as boy or girl?

Asked by flo (11236points) September 13th, 2016

As asked.

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34 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’d say at 16, 17 I’d start calling them “Young men,” “Young women.”

JLeslie's avatar

I use girl even with adult women depending on who I’m talking to. A lot of women are offended by girl, so I try to only do it when I know it’s ok.

As far as teens, I’d say around 16 I might use young lady. Young woman is kind of odd to me, although I think it is used regularly now. I grew up with “woman” having an undertone of meaning she has had sex. I don’t think that’s how people think of it anymore though.

I’m more likely to call a teen a teenager, when talking about them, especially through age 18. It’s nice that we have a word like teenager in English.

I guess with males it’s different. I wouldn’t call an adult man a boy. Although, I do hear it said. “The boys are getting together tonight.” That sort of thing.

Same as girls, once the boy is a teen, why not just used teenager. Young men can be used also.

elbanditoroso's avatar

75 or 80. I heard my aunt (age 80) call some of her contemporaries ‘the girls’ just last week.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It depends on how they are behaving.

BellaB's avatar

Once people hit 13, I don’t think of them as children anymore so I wouldn’t use boy or girl for them.

Once they/we get a lot older, it seems to kick in again. Our elderly neighbour, Baba Evda, always tells Setanta to be a good boy when she sees him on an evening.

MrGrimm888's avatar

In my neck of the woods it’s an insult to call a man ‘boy.’

Especially if it’s a African American. It’s like the ‘n’ word light. And usually gets similar effects.

Girls can be girls til whenever. I don’t think they take it bad at all.

I think I prefer Dutchess’ response, as far as exactly answering the question .

monthly's avatar

At competitive swim meets in our league under 15 is “girl” or “boy” 15 and over are “men” and “women”. High school sports it’s “men” and “women”.

kritiper's avatar

Legally, 18. In normal conversation, 20.

rojo's avatar

It depends on your own age; there is no one definitive answer.

filmfann's avatar

I still call my son The Boy. It is a term of endearment, not derision.

Setanta's avatar

That depends on context and region. Although northerners have a negative reaction, in the south, “good ol’ boy” is a term of approbation, and does not necessarily have racist or even conservative connotations. Among people who know one another well, there’s no reference to age in using those terms. My Sweetiepie calls me “the boy,” with no insult intended, and none taken.

ragingloli's avatar

18, except in porn.

jca's avatar

I’ll call ladies up to the age of about 50 “girls.” I’ll also sometimes call them “ladies” depending on who they are, how well I know them, etc. To me, it’s a term of endearment “Hi Girls.” “I’m with my favorite girls.” “Boys” is not something I say too often, except if I know the people well, I might say “Hi boys.” I’m more likely to refer to a bunch of guy friends as “guys.” “What are you guys up to?” “Thanks, guys.” “See you guys later” which can be both for women and men, again, depending on how familiar I am with the people.

I have a good friend who told me she did not like a waiter referring to her group of women as “girls.” She said something harsh to him about it. I think most people wouldn’t find the term “girls” offensive but you have to be careful as you never know who gets offended by what nowadays. Better safe than sorry.

I asked a question about “referring to a group of ladies as girls” on here once, maybe a year ago. I’ll try to find it later.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I often use “boys” or “girls” to refer to grown men and women, but only in a fun way. When I meet female friends for a meal, I call it “dinner with the girls.” I affectionately call my 88-year-old mother “my little chocolate girl,” because she’s so fond of chocolate and, despite her advanced Alzheimer’s disease, gets great joy from any chocolate treat. If my husband and his pals are watching sports at our home, I’ll ask, “Would you boys like something to drink?”

I think people need to lighten-up about this matter. If something isn’t said in a condescending or demeaning way, it needs to be taken in the spirit of its context.

An acquaintance recently told me that her son will be getting married this autumn. I asked if he’s marrying a “nice girl.” She replied, somewhat harshly, that the bride’s a “nice woman.” I thought that was rude.

ucme's avatar

My kids are 20 & 17 & I still see them as my “bairns” always will.

flo's avatar

Between very good friends, parent child, etc. that’s different. Some even call each other by the worst, horrid names bcause it can be funny Inside joke etc.

Setanta's avatar

Names do tend to stick. When i was just a liddly, i couldn’t properly say “Grandma” which came out something like “Nonny.” So, Nonny she became for the rest of her life. Her husband, her brother and sister, her sisters-in-law, her three daughters, all of her grandchildren and great grandchildren called her Nonny. The youngest ones didn’t even question it—they just thought that was her name.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ There are so many names for a grandmother. “Nonny” is among the loveliest I’ve ever read.

Setanta's avatar

She deserved a lovely name, her had not been easy, but she was a good woman.

ibstubro's avatar

It raises as I age.
If they look under 30 they are now “Little Boys” and “Little Girls” to me.
Consider it a compliment.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ When you’re in your 80s and 90s, you’ll describe senior citizens as “those young girls,” “those boys,” or “that bunch of kids.”

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’m “Gramma Ballerina.” So dubbed by my now-oldest grand daughter when she was 3. My name is Valerie and she mixed that up with her desire to be a ballerina at the time.

ibstubro's avatar

You might right, @Love_my_doggie.
Although, “senior citizen” is pretty defined. I used my 55 yo senior citizen discount yesterday for the first time at Goodwill.
And I was annoyed to get carded once this year. I have pure gray facial hair and more salt than pepper on my head. Use some reason, folks.

tranquilsea's avatar

I have the opposite problem: I keep having to tell my kids that they are now adults :P

I don’t call kids boys or girls past the age of 11.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Our own kids don’t count! They’ll still be “kids” on their 50th birthdays.

tranquilsea's avatar

Hmm I thought the question was referring to calling young people boys and girls. And not in a “I have 3 girls and one boy” way when referencing your own kids.

BellaB's avatar

‘Maybe it’s a regional thing. I rarely hear people refer to their adult children as boys and girls – they talk about their sons and daughters.

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, sons and daughters, when talking about their own children.

I wonder if the people who use boys and girls for adults also still at times use mommy and daddy when talking to their parents or with a family member about their parents. For instance I don’t usually say “my mommy is coming to visit,” when talking to a friend. I do still call my mom mommy at times when talking to her. If I were talking to my sister I would say, “Mommy is coming to visit.” Mommy, Mom, and Ma. Most Jewish people I know use mommy at times even as adults, I haven’t noticed if it’s really a Jewish thing though, or regional, or no pattern. My husband still uses Momi and Popi at times.

I do think boy and girl for adults is more likely in the northern US than the south because of the southern history, but it’s not an all encompassing generalization.

@tranquilsea Hello! Always great to see you.

tranquilsea's avatar

Hey @JLeslie :) Great to see you too.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

^^^ Yes, where have you been, @JLeslie?

ibstubro's avatar

But, @tranquilsea, What prevents you from responding to the OP? In your context?
I did.

tranquilsea's avatar

@ibstubro I did :) Scroll up

ibstubro's avatar

Sorry, @tranquilsea. I missed that.
Welcome back.
You’ll find I’m a lurve squanderer.

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