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Barely literate
Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 5:04:07 PM

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Can a friend of opposite sex be called a boyfriend/girlfriend even if there is no love affair between them?See Definition
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 5:31:00 PM

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I call my wife a wife, before that, 33 years ago, I called her my girlfriend,
but all the time I like to call her a friend because that's what she really is.
(That's probably the reason we've been married this long ;-)

A friend is a friend, not a boy- or girlfriend.
thar
Posted: Saturday, November 17, 2012 5:57:01 PM

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In BE and AE boyfriends and girlfriends are a romantic/sexual partner.

but (sometimes confusingly, when I watch US TV programmes and someone says she is going out with 'a girlfriend)...

...girls sometimes have 'girlfriends' especially in AE, to mean girls who are friends.

But boys do not have 'boyfriends' in a non-sexual way. They have mates (which is ironic, given what mating means...)

but for boys, and for girls in BE, to mean friends of a particular gender you have female friends, male friends.

if you refer to a girl's female friend as a girlfriend you might get away with it in AE but I think not in BE.

if you refer to a straight guy's male friend as his boyfriend, then depending on how gay-phobic he is you will either get rapidly corrected in your use of English, or even more rapidly punched in the face! Whistle
excaelis
Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012 4:24:53 AM

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Just stick with 'friend', it's way less complicated.
thar
Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012 5:06:33 AM

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I think maybe English does not have the whole gender thing (ein Freund, eine Freundin, un ami, une amie, kærasta, kærastu) because knowing the gender of your friend or lover is too much personal information for the reserved Enlish to divulge Whistle
But it does make for far better dramatic and comedic punchlines if you don't know these things in advance from the language Whistle
mister_moon
Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012 7:59:15 AM
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We don't use boyfriend or girlfriend in general to describe someone who is simply a friend of that sex.

One of the boys, however, can be used to a male of indeterminate age but an adult who is part of a larger group defining themselves by a common factor or pursuit with the 'male dominant' attitudes associated with it (e.g. work colleagues, males down the pub, people playing or watching local football etc). This usage is recorded from 1850 [J.G.Saxe - 'Address and Proceedings' " I am one of the boys!" (in OED)] . Confusingly, this term can be extended to a female who shares the same pursuit or job and is perceived to share the associated attitudes. This is seen by the males in the group as a kind of back-handed compliment.

Similarly, one of the girls is often used to describe a woman in an equivalent group with female dominant attitudes at work, or play. They may from time to time indulge themselves in a girl's night out sometimes down the pub, but more often to a local disco or nightclub. I can find no exact match for this phrase meaning one of a defined group, so non-native speakers will have to take my word for it existing. A similar phrase, "We are all girls together", can be found in the 'Syracuse Evening Herald' of New York from 1893 [OED]. It is not okay to describe any male as one of the girls, although as usual there is one exception to this - a particular type of homosexual (usually effeminate) often describe each other in a group as one of the girls.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, November 18, 2012 11:03:35 PM

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As the original question by salesh is already answered (no, you don't call a female friend a 'girlfriend' in normal circumstances) - I looked at the "one of the girls" phrase. It's almost as popular as "one of the boys" - in fact before 1805 it was more popular.
mister_moon
Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 10:19:02 AM
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The Google Books Ngram indeed gives a high hit rate for one of the girls relative to one of the boys, however it cannot be assumed that both are colloquial idioms, only that those words in that order appear in, I presume, that percentage of the books searched.

If, however, you put one of the boys into the OED online you get the following entry:
Quote:
colloq. Members of a group sharing common (typically masculine) interests; one's (male) fellows or habitual companions. Esp. in one of the boys: one who belongs to such a group; spec. one who conforms to its interests or practices


Whilst if you put one of the girls into the OED you get the following:
Quote:
No dictionary entries found for ‘one of the girls’.

The word order (meaning one specific girl out of a number of girls) appears in 27 given quotations. Typical of the entries given is
Quote:
One of the girls, a long-waisted, brown-haired lovely in a black knit leotard...
T. Pynchon 'Crying of Lot 49 iii. 63' [1966].

Similarly, putting both phrases into The Free Dictionary one of the boys has an entry in Idioms, and one of the girls does not.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 2:56:47 PM

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Hmmm... Think

I guess I shall just have to add my vote to your earlier opinion then.
Quote:
mister moon Similarly, one of the girls is often used to describe a woman in an equivalent group with female dominant attitudes at work, or play. They may from time to time indulge themselves in a girl's night out sometimes down the pub, but more often to a local disco or nightclub. I can find no exact match for this phrase meaning one of a defined group, so non-native speakers will have to take my word for it existing.


I have definitely heard it used this way "She's really one of the girls, never misses a night out."
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