[ gurl ]
See synonyms for: girlgirls on

  1. a female child, from birth to full growth.

  2. a young, immature woman, especially formerly, an unmarried one.

  1. a daughter: My wife and I have two girls.

  2. Informal: Sometimes Offensive. a grown woman, especially when referred to familiarly: She's having the girls over for bridge next week.

  3. Older Use: Usually Offensive. a female servant, as a maid.

  4. Older Use: Usually Offensive. a female employee, especially an office assistant.

  5. a female who is from or native to a given place: She's a Missouri girl.

  6. girls, (used with a singular or plural verb)

    • a range of sizes from 7 to 14, for garments made for girls.

    • a garment in this size range.

    • the department or section of a store where these garments are sold.

  7. girls, Slang. one's breasts (usually preceded by the, my, etc., and primarily used self-referentially by women).

Origin of girl

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English gurle, girle, gerle “child, young person”; compare Old English gyrela, gi(e)rela “item of dress, apparel” (presumably worn by the young in the late Old English period, and hence used as a metonym)

usage note For girl

Some adult women are offended if referred to as a girl, or informally, a gal. However, a group of adult female friends often refer to themselves as the girls, and their “girls night out” implies the company of adult females. Also, a woman may express camaraderie by addressing another woman as girl, as in You go, girl! or Attagirl!
Referring to one's female office assistant or housekeeper as the girl or my girl, once in common use, is now considered unacceptable. Working girl, meaning “a woman who works,” girl/gal Friday, meaning “a female office assistant,” and other occupational terms such as career girl and college girl, are also dated and often perceived as insulting. Working girl as a slang term meaning “a prostitute” is sometimes used by female prostitutes as a euphemistic self-reference. See also lady, woman.

Words Nearby girl Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use girl in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for girl


/ (ɡɜːl) /

  1. a female child from birth to young womanhood

  2. a young unmarried woman; lass; maid

  1. informal a sweetheart or girlfriend

  2. informal a woman of any age

  3. an informal word for daughter

  4. a female employee, esp a female servant

  5. Southern African derogatory a Black female servant of any age

  6. the girls (usually plural) informal a group of women, esp acquaintances

Origin of girl

C13: of uncertain origin; perhaps related to Low German Göre boy, girl

usage For girl

The use of girl as in meaning 4, to refer to a woman of any age, is highly likely to be considered old-fashioned or to cause offence

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