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90s Slang You Should Know


[beyb] /beɪb/
a baby or child.
an innocent or inexperienced person.
(usually initial capital letter) Southern U.S. (used, often before the surname, as a familiar name for a boy or man, especially the youngest of a family.)
  1. Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive. a girl or woman, especially an attractive one:
    Her roommate is a real babe!
  2. an attractive young man.
  3. (sometimes initial capital letter) an affectionate or familiar term of address (sometimes offensive when used to strangers, casual acquaintances, subordinates, etc., especially by a male to a female).
babe in the woods, an innocent, unsuspecting person, especially one likely to be victimized by others:
Some highly informed people are mere babes in the woods where the stock market is concerned.
Also, babe in the wood.
Origin of babe
early Middle English
1150-1200; 1915-20 for def 4; Middle English; early Middle English baban, probably nursery word in origin
1. toddler, infant, tot, nursling.


[rooth] /ruθ/
George Herman ("Babe") 1895–1948, U.S. baseball player.


[zuh-hair-ee-uh s, -har-] /zəˈhɛər i əs, -ˈhær-/
Mildred Didrikson
[did-rik-suh n] /ˈdɪd rɪk sən/ (Show IPA),
("Babe") 1914–56, U.S. track-and-field athlete and golfer. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for babe
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • But, to her babe, the young mother was passionate at times in her loving demonstrations.

    The Allen House T. S. Arthur
  • He is after the secretary Stangerson, who had no more to do with the crime than the babe unborn.

    A Study In Scarlet Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Some crocodile or hippopotamus crawling through the rushes might craunch the babe.

    The Wedding Ring T. De Witt Talmage
  • Since then I have been in my bed, with no power more than has a babe of the cradle.

    Rita Laura E. Richards
  • Its a shame that Amys mother treats her as if she were a babe.

    Girl Scouts in the Rockies Lillian Elizabeth Roy
British Dictionary definitions for babe


a baby
(informal) a naive, gullible, or unsuspecting person (often in the phrase a babe in arms)
(informal) a young woman or man perceived as being sexually attractive


noun (archaic)
pity; compassion
repentance; remorse
grief or distress
Word Origin
C12: from rewen to rue1


(Old Testament)
  1. a Moabite woman, who left her own people to remain with her mother-in-law Naomi, and became the wife of Boaz; an ancestress of David
  2. the book in which these events are recounted
George Herman, nicknamed Babe. 1895–1948, US professional baseball player from 1914 to 1935
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for babe

late 14c., short for baban (early 13c.), which probably is imitative of baby talk (cf. babble), however in many languages the cognate word means "old woman" (cf. Russian babushka "grandmother," from baba "peasant woman").

Crist crid in cradil, "moder, baba!" [John Audelay, c.1426]
Now mostly superseded by its diminutive form baby. Used figuratively for "a childish person" from 1520s. Meaning "attractive young woman" is 1915, college slang. Babe in the woods is from 1795.


fem. proper name, biblical ancestor of David, from Hebrew Ruth, probably a contraction of reuth "companion, friend, fellow woman."



"sorrow for the misery of another; repentance, regret," c.1200, ruthe, from Old Norse hryggð "ruth, sorrow," from hryggr "sorrowful, grieved" (see rue (v.)) + Proto-Germanic abstract noun suffix *-itho (see -th (2)). Or else formed in English from reuwen "to rue" on the model of true/truth, etc. The Old English word was rue (n.2).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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babe in Culture

Ruth definition

The great-grandmother of King David, known for her kindness and faithfulness. Not an Israelite herself, she married an Israelite who had come to her country with his family. Ruth's husband died, and her mother-in-law, Naomi, set out to return to the country of the Israelites. Ruth insisted on accompanying Naomi, saying, “ Whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge.” In the country of the Israelites, Ruth married Boaz, a rich relative of her dead husband; Boaz had been attracted to Ruth by her generosity. Her story is told in the Book of Ruth in the Old Testament.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for babe



A girl or woman, esp a sexually desirable one; chick, doll •Used almost entirely by men and considered offensive by many women; strong resurgence of use in the 1990s (1915+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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