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guy

Meaning: an informal word for an unnamed male person; used in a plural form (guys) to refer to a group of people (including females)

For example:

  • Do you know the guy in the green shirt? Angela married some guy in the army who looks just like him.

  • Come on guys! It's time to go.

Note: The word guy sometimes refers to a creature or character. The good guy is the protagonist of a story; the bad guy is the villain.

Origin: Guy Fawkes (1570-1606) was a British Catholic who, with a group of others, attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament and assassinate King James of England/Scotland in 1605. The failed attempt is known as the Gunpowder Plot. At the time, Guy was not a popular name. In fact, Guy Fawkes preferred the name "Guido". Guy Fawkes became well-known because of his role in the Gunpowder Plot. He was tortured and killed, and remembered for his attempt. Over time, the British began to use the word "guy" to mean effigy (a model of a person) or a badly-dressed man. Eventually this word made its way to America, where it lost its negative associations and came to mean "fellow" or "man".

Quick Quiz:

Whom would you more likely refer to as a guy?

a. a man you met on a street corner

b. your father

c. your male boss

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Contributor: Tara Benwell