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A boy is a male human child or adolescent, as contrasted to a female child, which is a girl. The term "boy" is used to indicate biological sex distinctions, cultural gender role distinctions, or both. An adult male human is a man.

The boundary is not clear cut. In English, a youth or a teenager may be either male or female. No gender specific term exists for an intermediate stage between a boy and a man, except "young man".

In the Royal Navy there is a rank "ship's boy".

Colloquial uses

Many occasions occur when an adult male could be referred to as a boy. A person's boyfriend may be of any age. A man's group of male friends are often "the boys". A young man who has not assumed (or has been denied) the traditional roles of a man might also be called a boy. It may feel uncomfortable to a young male upon being referred to as a "man" before he believes he has assumed these roles, such as having a career, a family, a wife, and fathering children. Conversely, it may feel uncomfortable to a male to be called a "boy" if he believes he has assumed the traditional roles of a "man."

In the UK, football managers quite often refer to footballers as "The boy so-and-so" and this usage is by no means restricted to the youngest players, though it is rarely applied to the most senior.

Historically, in countries such as the [[United States of U.S. and South Africa, "boy" was used as a disparaging, racist insult towards a black male.

The words, "man/boy" and "woman/girl" seem to cause much confusion in society. The best idea is to use extreme caution and be thoroughly aware of the semantics behind either option, one may be offended accidentally by another who holds a different view of these words.


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