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babe

[beyb]
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noun
  1. a baby or child.
  2. an innocent or inexperienced person.
  3. (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.)
  4. Slang.
    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).
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Idioms
  1. 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.
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Origin of babe

1150–1200; 1915–20 for def 4; Middle English; early Middle English baban, probably nursery word in origin

Synonyms

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1. toddler, infant, tot, nursling.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for babe in the woods

babe

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

Word Origin and History for babe in the woods

babe

n.

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Now mostly superseded by its diminutive form baby.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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with babe in the woods

babe in the woods

An innocent or very naive person who is apt to be duped or victimized, as in She was a babe in the woods where the stock market was concerned. The term originated in a popular ballad of 1595, “The Children in the Wood,” about two young orphans who are abandoned in a forest and die.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.