Boyfriend is a term that can refer to either a male partner in a non-marital romantic relationship or a male non-intimate friend.


The term is most commonly used to describe any male person who is in a romantic relationship with another person.

Partners in such non-marital relationships are also sometimes described as a significant other, life partner or simply partner, especially if the individuals are cohabitating. At times, since "boyfriend" and "partner" mean different things to different people, the distinctions between the terms are subjective, and which term is used in a relationship will ultimately be determined by personal preference.

When used by a boy or man about another male in a non-sexual, non-romantic context, the two-word form "boy friend" is sometimes used to avoid confusion with the sexual or romantic meaning.

Though nuanced, there is a significant difference between girlfriend and boyfriend, and girl friend and boy friend. In a strictly grammatical sense, a girlfriend or boyfriend is an 'individual of significance' with whom one shares a relationship. A girl friend or boy friend, however, is simply a friend identified on the basis of gender. Since the pronunciation is the same, these words may occur to be false friends.

Word history

In the past it had implications of an illicit relationship (as sexual and romantic relationships outside marriage were generally frowned upon). It is now a generally accepted term, however, no longer having negative connotations. An earlier usage in print, dating from July 1889, is discussed in Neil Bartlett's, Who Was That Man? A Present for Mr Oscar Wilde. On pages 108-110, Bartlett quotes from an issue of The Artist and Journal of Home Culture, which refers to Alectryon as "a boyfriend of Mars."


Additionally, gender-indiscriminate terms also apply, e.g., true love and some more specific terms such as cavalier, wooer, and gender-neutral ones like date, escort, steady or suitor; furthermore, non-gender specific euphemisms such as admirer, companion,

External links

See also

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This article is based on "Boyfriend" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia ( It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: