The final 女の子 / 女子 / 少女 / and all words for "girls" thread

My goal is to make this the definitive thread to link to when the question comes up. Suggestions for more words are welcome. Examples of usages or phrases are in the summaries.

There are a lot of examples, so I haven’t added furigana yet, but maybe later.

女の子 (おんなのこ)
*all girls from newborns to roughly mid-teens
*in slang usage, other young women

Summary

女の子が公園で遊ぶ
a girl plays in the park

人形を抱いた女の子
a girl holding a doll

女の子を授かる
to be blessed with a girl

可愛い女の子
a cute girl

六年生の女の子
a 6th grade girl

女子 (じょし)
*when referring to individuals, covers a similar age range to 女の子
*when referring to “girls” as a whole, covers a much broader range, through women in their 30’s
*the “girls as a whole” usage is more common

Summary

女子を出産する
give birth to a girl

女子の更衣室
girls’ changing room

女子トイレ
girls’ restroom

女子バスケットボール部
girls’ basketball team

女子バレーボール世界選手権
Women’s Volleyball World Championship

女子高生
high school girl

女子大学
women’s college

女子会
girls-only gathering

女子専用
for women’s use only

少女 (しょうじょ)
*refers to girls that are anywhere from elementary school age to mid-teens
*has a romantic feeling, as in, it captures the “idealized” image of the word “girl”

Summary

美少女
beautiful girl

可愛い少女
a cute girl

魔法少女
magical girl

少女小説
a story for young girls

少女マンガ
manga for young girls

乙女 (おとめ)
*basically the same as 少女 but even more romantic and poetic
*also sometimes used refer to young unmarried women in a bit of an archaic sense
*sometimes the kanji 少女 can be read as おとめ, but this is non-standard and if intended likely to be marked with furigana

Summary

乙女心
girls’ feelings

うら若き乙女
a young maiden

感じやすい年ごろの乙女
a young lady of an impressionable age

(むすめ)
*in a literal sense, a daughter of any age
*in a broader sense, young unmarried women

Summary

私の娘は15歳です
My daughter is 15 years old.

娘のころに着た服
the clothes I wore as a girl

おてんば娘
a tomboy

看板娘
a pretty girl who attracts customers to a shop

女児 (じょじ)
*girls from kindergarten to low-grade elementary school age, basically from first starting school to a few years later
*more likely to be written than spoken (imagine a school pamphlet or something)

ガール
*rarely used alone, but appears in many other words

Summary

ガールフレンド
girlfriend

チアガール
cheerleader

ガールズトーク
girls’ talk

ギャル
*a young, energetic woman, stereotypically with heavy make-up and… less interest in intellectual activities
*as such, use caution with this word

幼女 (ようじょ)
*little girl
*relatively uncommon relative to other words discussed

女性 (じょせい)
*female of any age
*typically if specifically referring to girls, it would be in the form of 女性の with some “youth-specific” word following, as in 女性の生徒 (female student)

Summary

女性の教師
female teacher

女性専用
for female use only

女性がいる
(absent of other context this probably means) there is a woman

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@CyrusS Can we pin this?

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Are you… 神様? :durtle_love:

Really appreciate this mate (:

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That is exactly what i need :grin: :durtle_love:

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I think for completeness this needs 女性、幼女、女 too.

I will add 幼女, but the others don’t really cause any confusion on the “girl” front, as far as I’m aware. It’s true that girls are included in 女性 and 女, but “girl” wouldn’t be used as a gloss for them, absent of some other context.

I think 女性 is a good mention to include because its a safe default for any female and is pretty much expected most of the time.
It also rounds out the age thing you have going on nicely.

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I suppose. Just trying to avoid a situation where we have every possible word for females on here, since the goal was originally just to cover the 3 that cause the most topics on WK.

Edit: Added

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Does 女性 have a colder, more scientific nuance to it like “female” does in English?

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Great thread, thanks! :relaxed:

Started wondering about ギャル. Never heard of it (probably because I am an ignorant person), but is there any equivalent in English for this? Who uses this? Why? I know it may be an insult, but I’m just curious.

In the sense of it as a の adjective, I’d say it seems just as normal as female as an adjective in English.

女性の教師
female teacher

And I don’t get the impression that it’s odd to say 女性 as a noun, the way it would be to say female, just by itself, in English.

女性がいた
there was a female

Yeah, sounds odd in English, but I don’t think it’s odd in Japanese.

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Good to know, thanks!

Agree. In my experience, my female Japanese friends default to 女性 a lot of times. I actually do too because then you don’t get into the mess of “should I call someone 20yo+ a girl” kinda of thing. They correct my Japanese every time and never had any correction with 女性. So I’d say it’s pretty safe.

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Its basically the default because it doesn’t assume anything other than what it says.

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Though one of the definitions is “woman.” So I still think it’s more normal to use it for adults, when it’s a noun.

When it’s a の adjective, that’s different.

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This is the great! I’ve bookmarked it.

I think a good equivalent would be “girly girl” based on what I’ve read. Feel free to correct me or add something onto it.

Also here’s a good article from Tofugu: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/gyaru-go/

Oh wow, this is great and it saved either spending a while googling all this or posting here and looking like a dumbass!

Is there something similar but for the “woman” synonyms? Or other synonyms WK introduces for example?

So far it gets kinda confusing when there’s a couple vocab for “few” or “very”, as I wouldn’t know in what context to apply each vocab over the other.

I might try to do others as well. But we get this question a few times a month, I’d say, so it was a priority.

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Anki’d all of this. Many thanks for the great write-up :smiley: