See also: girl friend

English edit

Alternative forms edit

Etymology edit

Compound of girl +‎ friend.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

girlfriend (plural girlfriends)

  1. A female partner in an unmarried romantic relationship.
    Coordinate terms: boyfriend, enbyfriend, fiancée, lover, partner, significant other, sweetheart, wife, lady friend
    Marc went to the park with his girlfriend and watched the sunset with her.
    • 1966, “The Man Trap”, in Star Trek: The Original Series, season 1, episode 1 (television production), spoken by Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Paramount Pictures:
      Want to pick some flowers, doctor? When a man visits an old girlfriend she usually expects something like that.
  2. A female friend of a woman or girl.
    Synonym: (slang) chickfriend
    Coordinate terms: buddy, friend, pal, BFF
    Mary always enjoyed hanging out with her girlfriend Jessica.
    • 2018, Shiv Kotecha, The Switch, United States: Wonder, →ISBN, page 135:
      [] for the past 45 years, Neri had sat outside with her girlfriends Fotini and Eleni, two school friends who, having grown old in their company, Neri loved dearly.
  3. (LGBT) A fellow gay man, especially a friend as opposed to a sexual partner.
    • 1994, Eric Orner, The Seven Deadly Sins of Love (reprinted in The Completely Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (2015), p. 53):
      Tim: James, huh? My lover Carlos's best girlfriend is named James.
      James: Yes, I know. I am your lover Carlos's best girlfriend James.
  4. A term of address for a female friend or among gay men.
    • 1994, Eric Orner, The Seven Deadly Sins of Love (reprinted in The Completely Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green (2015), p. 32):
      Hanque: Girlfriend — how'r we doing?
      Doug: Hi Hanque, I'd like a capuccino and some lobster bisque.
      Caption: (Friendliness with the waitstaff is a good sign)

Usage notes edit

  • The term is used to refer to any girl or woman in a romantic relationship with another person.
  • An adult woman in such a non-marital relationship is sometimes referred to instead as a significant other or partner, especially if the two partners are living together. Because girlfriend 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.
  • The use of girlfriend for a female non-romantic friend of another female is limited in geographic distribution and sometimes preferred by older generations of speakers. It is frowned upon by many sapphic women, who consider it a contributing factor in the erasure and/or denigration of sapphic relationships.

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