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The root is also found in Flemish boe ("brother"), Norwegian dialectal boa ("brother"), and, through a reduplicated variant *bō-bō-, in Old Norse bófi, Dutch boef "(criminal) knave, rogue", German Bube ("knave, rogue, boy").
Furthermore, the word may be related to Bōia, an Anglo-Saxon personal name.
The word "boy" comes from Middle English boi, boye ("boy, servant"), related to other Germanic words for boy, namely East Frisian boi ("boy, young man") and West Frisian boai ("boy").
Although the exact etymology is obscure, the English and Frisian forms probably derive from an earlier Anglo-Frisian *bō-ja ("little brother"), a diminutive of the Germanic root *bō- ("brother, male relation"), from Proto-Indo-European *bhā-, *bhāt- ("father, brother").
In English, the words youth, teenager and adolescent may refer to either male or female.
No gender-specific term exists for an intermediate stage between a boy and a man, except "young man", although the term puberty, for one who reached sexual reproductivity (or the legally assumed age, e.g.
The members of a student fraternity can be called frat(ernity) boys, technically preferable to the pleonasm frat-bro(ther), and remain so for life as adults, after graduation.
In sports 'the boys' commonly refers to the teammates; e.g., UK football managers quite often refer to their players 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.
Similarly schoolboy only applies to minors; the modern near-synonym pupil originally designated a minor in Roman law as being under a specific adult's authority, as in loco parentis.
Thus the compound -man can then be replaced by -boy, as in footboy; or boy is simply added, either as a prefix (e.g., in boy-racer) or as a suffix (e.g., in Teddy Boy).
An adult equivalent (with or without -man) is not to be expected when -boy designates an apprentice (for which some languages use a compound with the equivalent of boy, e.g.
In some Middle Eastern cultures, characteristics affirming boyhood include physiological features associated with prepubescence, such as pubelessness and the inability to ejaculate.
An adult male human is a man, but when age is not a crucial factor, both terms can be interchangeable, e.g., 'boys and their toys' applies equally to adults and young boys, just as 'Are you mice or men? The age boundary is not clear cut, rather dependent on the context or even on individual circumstances.