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girl (n.)

14世纪, gyrle “孩子, 年轻人” (男女均可, 但最常见的是女性), 来源不明. 一种猜测[OED]倾向于一个未记录的古英语 *gyrele, 来自于原日耳曼语 *gurwilon-, *gurwjoz 的缩略语(显然也代表了低德文 gære “男孩, 女孩”, 挪威方言 gorre, 瑞典方言 gurre “小孩子”, 虽然确切的关系, 如果有的话, 所有这些之间的关系是模糊的), 来自于PIE *ghwrgh-, 也发现在希腊语 parthenos “处女”. 但这涉及到一些令人反对的语言学. Liberman(2008) 写道:

Girl does not go back to any Old English or Old Germanic form. It is part of a large group of Germanic words whose root begins with a g or k and ends in r. The final consonant in girl is a diminutive suffix. The g-r words denote young animals, children, and all kinds of creatures considered immature, worthless, or past their prime.

另一个候选词是古英语 gierela “garment” (关于这个理论中可能的意义演变, 比较 brat). 以前的民间词源学从拉丁文 garrulus “喋喋不休, 滔滔不绝” 衍生而来, 现在被抛弃了. 和 boy, lass, lad 一样, 它的来源多少有些模糊. “大概大部分都是作为原本意义不同的词的玩笑式转移使用而产生的” [OED]. “女娃” 的具体含义是14世纪末 自15世纪中叶起应用于“任何年轻的未婚女子”. “甜心” 的含义是1640年代的. Old girl 在指任何年龄的妇女时, 从1826年开始有记载. Girl next door 作为一种不张扬的吸引力, 到1953年有记载(20世纪福克斯公司一部由June Haver主演的电影的片名).

Doris [Day] was a big vocalist even before she hit the movies in 1948. There, as the latest movie colony “girl next door,” sunny-faced Doris soon became a leading movie attraction as well as the world's top female recording star. “She's the girl next door, all right,” said one Hollywood admirer. “Next door to the bank.” [Life magazine, Dec. 22, 1958]

Girl Friday “足智多谋的年轻女助手” 出自1940年, 是对“鲁滨逊-克鲁索” 的引用. Girl Scout 是来自1909年. 通常的古英语单词, 见 maiden.

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Definitions of girl from WordNet

girl (n.)
a young female;
Synonyms: miss / missy / young lady / young woman / fille
girl (n.)
a youthful female person;
the girls were just learning to ride a tricycle
the baby was a girl
Synonyms: female child / little girl
girl (n.)
a female human offspring;
Synonyms: daughter
girl (n.)
a girl or young woman with whom a man is romantically involved;
Synonyms: girlfriend / lady friend
girl (n.)
a friendly informal reference to a grown woman;
Mrs. Smith was just one of the girls
From wordnet.princeton.edu