About This Word

girl crush

or girl-crush

What does girl crush mean?

A girl crush is a non-sexual, non-romantic admiration that one woman has for another.

Where does girl crush come from?

The term girl crush has existed in English since at least the late 1990s. It didn’t have its current meaning then, though some people did use it that way. In fact, the word was actually associated with lesbian and bisexual women at that time. However, by the early 2000s, there was a paradigm shift, and it began to be distinct from having an actual crush on a girl. The word began to be seen as useful around then, as there was no other word before that captured the intense feelings of admiration some women were experiencing. The term caught on to the point that even celebrities like Emma Stone and Vanessa Hudgens have admitted to having girl crushes.

A big increase of interest in the word followed the release of the song “Girl Crush” by country group Little Big Town in 2015. The song caused controversy over a misinterpretation of its lyrics. Out of context, the lyrics sound like they’re referencing a romantic relationship between two women. Some of these include “I wanna taste her lips, yeah, ‘cause they taste like you.” The rest of the song goes on to describe the positive attributes this woman has, though the song is actually about jealousy and pining for a man. Since then the term has become more visible, though it was already pretty widespread in the 2010s.

Who uses girl crush?

Women use the term girl crush to talk about women that they admire. These are women whose sense of style or whose talents they might look up to or want to emulate. In a way, a girl crush is a lot like a role model. These are women that other women love to spend time with.

Descriptions of girl crushes can be so intense that there are many articles that go in-depth about how to discern whether or not a strong attraction to another woman is a girl crush or a full-blown crush on a girl. Some of these clues include whether or not the reader thinks about their girl crush all the time or if they daydream about romantic situations that include her.

Since it became more well-known, the term girl crush has received a fair amount of criticism from women who are actually attracted to other women. The reason for the criticism is because it sounds an awful lot like the person using the term has a romantic crush on another woman. As a result, it might alienate actual women who romantically like women. The term girl crush implies that a woman likes another woman “but not in like, a gay way.” It's been likened to the homophobic expression no homo.

For example

“Life is fuzzy and I have also had several girl crushes myself but they confuse me a lot. I have had more in the past during high school than I have now and they've never been sexual, thinking back on them they do seem like admiration crushes.”

lkris13 Blogspot (October 14, 2010)

“Having a girl crush also tells something else about you. There’s a certain type of woman who can see a fabulous fly woman and lift her up, instead of tear her down.”

Demetria L. Lucas, “The Female Bromance: Girl Crushes,” Vibe (December 5, 2011)

“I’ve really loved the work and my supervisor has been really good to me, but I’ve noticed I’ve developed a real girl crush on her.”

“Please Help: Girl Crush,” PsychCentral Kristina Randle (November 17, 2008)

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