• synonyms


  1. a boy or youth.
  2. Informal. a familiar or affectionate term of address for a man; chap.
  3. British Horseracing Informal. a stable boy.
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Origin of lad

1250–1300; Middle English ladde < ?; compare late Old English Ladda (nickname)
Related formslad·dish, adjectivelad·hood, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for laddish

Contemporary Examples

British Dictionary definitions for laddish


  1. informal, usually derogatory characteristic of male adolescents or young men, esp by being rowdy, macho, or immatureladdish behaviour
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Derived Formsladdishness, noun


  1. a boy or young man
  2. informal a familiar form of address for any male
  3. a lively or dashing man or youth (esp in the phrase a bit of a lad)
  4. a young man whose behaviour is characteristic of male adolescents, esp in being rowdy, macho, or immature
  5. British a boy or man who looks after horses
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Word Origin

C13 ladde; perhaps of Scandinavian origin
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 laddish



c.1300, ladde "foot soldier," also "young male servant" (attested as a surname from late 12c.), possibly from a Scandinavian language (cf. Norwegian -ladd, in compounds for "young man"), but of obscure origin in any case. OED hazards a guess on Middle English ladde, plural of the past participle of lead (v.), thus "one who is led" (by a lord). Liberman derives it from Old Norse ladd "hose; woolen stocking." "The development must have been from 'stocking,' 'foolish youth' to 'youngster of inferior status' and (with an ameliorated meaning) to 'young fellow.'" He adds, "Words for socks, stockings, and shoes seem to have been current as terms of abuse for and nicknames of fools." Meaning "boy, youth, young man" is from mid-15c. Scottish form laddie, a term of endearment, attested from 1540s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper