Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A girl considered boyish or masculine in behavior or manner.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A girl who behaves in a typically boyish manner.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A romping girl; a hoiden.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A rude, boisterous boy.
  • n. A wild, romping girl; a hoyden.
  • n. A worthless woman; a strumpet.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a girl who behaves in a boyish manner

Etymologies

First attested in 1553 when it originally meant a “boisterous boy”, later in 1579 when it came to mean an “immodest woman”, and then finally in 1592 it developed its modern meaning of a “girl who acts like a boy”; from Tom, familiar form of Thomas + boy, “male child”. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I think it clearly sends a message - intended or not - that certain activities are girl-like and others are boy-like and that a "tomboy" is acting like a boy, rather than a non-doll playing, sports-loving, and/or tree - climbing girl. rock doctor: Your paleontologist Barbie is probably a collector's item!

    Space Camp Barbie

  • Ms. Le Pen was dubbed a tomboy by her sisters, but as a student she emulated her father's bon-vivant style, frequenting chic Parisian nightclubs.

    In the Name Of the Father

  • High School Debut - Kazune Kawahara (manga) "Haruna, a tomboy, is determined to change her stripes when she enters high school, but is sadly lacking in fashion or social sense, so she recruits cute upperclassman Yo to instruct her on how to make herself more appealing to boys."

    The Plight of Tomboys

  • Malone: Betty Jean has often been described as a tomboy, which is accurate, but I mostly think of her as very eager to please, to fit in and be like the other girls because she knows she's just not.

    Playbill.com : News

  • Her clothes - black T-shirts and jeans to fit a style Kimberly describes as "tomboy" - still hang in the closet.

    The Orange County Register - News Headlines : Top Stories

  • As a child I was far from what anyone would call a tomboy.

    Rowing the ATLANTIC

  • It just didn't cater to what some might call my tomboy nature.

    Archive 2007-06-01

  • She remembered, also, that Anna Weston was called a tomboy, and that her mother said it was a scandal for a little girl to have short hair.

    A Little Maid of Old Maine

  • She had been an undisciplined girl, called a tomboy in those days, whose farmer forbears had given to her a pagan passion for the soil and the open sky.

    Hillsboro People

  • Patty at home had sometimes been called a tomboy, and she could not resist climbing up to see what the world looked like from the top.

    The Nicest Girl in the School A Story of School Life

Comments

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  • tomgirl would have cut the mustard too

    November 7, 2009