- Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive.a girl or woman, especially an attractive one: Her roommate is a real babe!
- an attractive young man.
- (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).
- babbling brook,
- babcock test,
- babe in arms,
- babe in the woods,
- babel, tower of
Origin of 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Now mostly superseded by its diminutive form baby.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.
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.