Girl: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

Last Updated on
September 30, 2023

1. Girl (noun): A female child or young person, especially one still at school.
2. Girl (noun): A term of endearment or affection, often used colloquially to refer to a woman of any age.
3. Girl (noun): A young or relatively young unmarried woman, often as contrasted with a man or boy.
4. Girl (noun): A female native to a given place.
5. Girl (noun, informal): A girlfriend or sweetheart.
6. Girl (noun, informal): A group of women.

“Girl” is a common English word that can have different meanings depending on the context and usage. It is usually used to refer to a female person, but it can also be used in other ways, such as to express admiration, friendship, or affection. Let's explore the definition, origin, pronunciation, synonyms, antonyms, and examples of the word.

"Girl" Definition: What Does "Girl" Mean?

The word "girl" primarily denotes a female who is not yet an adult. While age distinctions can vary, "girl" is commonly used for females under 18. In informal settings, "girl" might also refer to a woman, highlighting a casual or affectionate relationship. Below are some common contexts in which "girl" is used:

  • Young Female: A female human who is a child or adolescent.
  • Adult Woman: In informal contexts, "girl" can refer to an adult woman.
  • Daughter: An affectionate term for one's female child, regardless of her age.
  • Female Friend: Familiar or colloquial term to refer to a female friend.

Parts of Speech

The term "girl" is primarily a noun. It serves to identify a young female person, an adult woman in a casual context, or a female friend or daughter.

How to Pronounce "Girl"?

"Girl" has a straightforward pronunciation.

Phonetic Pronunciation: gɜːrl (rhymes with "pearl")

Synonyms of "Girl": Other Ways to Say "Girl"

The word "girl" has numerous synonyms, each conveying slightly different nuances based on context.

  • Lass
  • Maiden
  • Young lady
  • Gal (informal)
  • Missy

Antonyms of "Girl": Other Ways to Say "Girl"

While no direct antonyms exist for "girl," terms representing the opposite gender can serve as indirect antonyms.

  • Boy
  • Lad
  • Guy

Examples of "Girl" in a Sentence

"Girl" is used in various contexts to convey different meanings.

Here are ten sentences that highlight its diverse applications:

1. The girl was excited about her first day at school.
2. The girl is a smart cookie, solving complex puzzles in no time.
3. Everyone adores the girl, calling her a cutie pie due to her charming expressions.
4. Being a girl in the 21st century comes with its own set of challenges and opportunities.
5. "Hey, girl! It's been so long since we last met," exclaimed Sarah.
6. Born and raised in a close-knit community, the girl values unity and tradition.
7. The grandmother fondly recollected her adventures as a young girl.
8. At every gathering, the girl is a laugh riot with her amusing anecdotes.
9. The girl is the apple of her parents' eye, always bringing them immense joy.
10. The empowerment of the girl child is a significant focus of many NGOs.

Frequency of Use

The word "girl" is frequently used in English. Its application ranges from identifying gender in young children to informal conversations among adults. In most frequency lists, "girl" is a commonly encountered noun, especially in contexts discussing family, education, or gender topics. The word is found in various contexts, from casual conversation to literature and media. Its usage is so widespread that it often appears in the top 500 most commonly used words in English.

Variants of "Girl"

The word "girl" has few variants, but there are related terms that delve into specific aspects of femininity or youth.

1. Girlhood: Refers to the time or state of being a girl.
2. Girlie/Girly: Adjectives suggesting something is characteristic of or suitable for a girl, often highlighting femininity or youthfulness.
3. Girl's: Possessive form of "girl," indicating something that belongs to a girl. For instance, "the girl's book".

Related Terms to "Girl"

Several terms are related to "girl," encompassing different stages of life, relationships, or colloquial expressions.

1. Daughter
2. Sister
3. Female
4. Teenager
5. Maiden
6. Lass
7. Young lady
8. Child

Etymology: History and Origins of "Girl"

The term "girl" emerged between 1250 and 1300 CE from the Anglo-Saxon word "gerle" (also spelled "girle" or "gurle"). Initially, it referred to a child of either sex until the late 1400s, but by the late 1500s, its meaning shifted to 'female child.'​

Derivatives and Compounds of "Girl"

"Girl" has given rise to several derivatives and compounds that describe specific types of girls or their roles in various contexts.

1. Girlhood: The state or time of being a girl.
2. Girlfriend: A female romantic partner or a female friend.
3. Girls' night out: A social gathering or outing arranged for women only.

Common Misspellings of "Girl"

While "girl" is a relatively simple word, it can sometimes be misspelled, especially by early learners.

Here are some common misspellings of "girl":

1. Gurl
2. Girll
3. Gril

10 Idioms Similar to "Girl"

While not all these idioms contain the word "girl," they relate to women or highlight characteristics traditionally attributed to femininity.

1. A girl's best friend (referring to diamonds)
2. Girl boss
3. Girl talk
4. You go, girl!
5. Daddy's little girl
6. Girls just want to have fun (from the song lyrics)
7. Be one of the girls
8. The girl next door
9. Atta girl! (an exclamation of praise)
10. That's my girl!

10 Common Questions About "Girl"

The term "girl" is deeply embedded in culture, society, and language, prompting various questions about its usage and connotations.

1. What age range does "girl" refer to?

"Girl" typically refers to a female child or young woman, usually up to the late teens or early twenties, but the age range can be subjective.

2. How does "girl" differ from "woman"?

"Girl" usually refers to a younger female, while "woman" indicates an adult female.

3. Is calling an adult female a "girl" appropriate?

It depends on the context and relationship. It might be acceptable in casual settings among friends, but in formal or professional situations, it could be viewed as condescending or inappropriate.

4. What's the origin of the phrase "girl power"?

"Girl power" is a slogan that emerged in the 1990s, popularized by the Spice Girls, advocating for female empowerment and independence.

5. What does "girl boss" mean?

A "girl boss" refers to a woman in charge, especially in a business or entrepreneurial context, exuding confidence and leadership.

6. Why do songs often mention "girls"?

Songs often capture emotions, experiences, societal themes, and relationships or interactions with "girls" are common topics across various musical genres.

7. Can "girl" be used in a non-gender-specific way?

Historically, "girl" was gender-neutral, but it's primarily gender-specific in modern English. Using it otherwise could lead to confusion or misinterpretation.

8. How do other languages translate "girl"?

Translations vary by language, like "niña" in Spanish, "fille" in French, or "Mädchen" in German.

9. What's the impact of calling professional women "girls" in the workplace?

Referring to adult professional women as "girls" can be perceived as belittling, potentially undermining their authority and accomplishments.

10. How has the perception of "girl" changed over time?

While "girl" has historically referred to young females, its connotations and the attributes society associates with girls have evolved, especially with movements championing gender equality and female empowerment.


"Girl" primarily refers to a female child or young woman, yet its usage extends beyond age, encapsulating cultural, social, and emotional contexts. Whether discussing family relationships, cultural shifts, or daily interactions, understanding the nuances of "girl" is crucial. Explore our extensive collection of terms and phrases to learn more about word definitions.

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