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- IPA: /ˈbɔɪ.ˌfrɛnd/
In contrast to its female equivalent, girlfriend, which is often used to describe a woman's close female friends, the term is not that often used in reference to non-romantic relationships. Boyfriend is a relatively modern term, and in the past has had implications of an illicit relationship (as sexual and romantic relationships outside marriage were generally frowned upon). It is now a generally accepted term and has no negative implications.
Use of boyfriend generally implies that the male is a boy or a young man. An older man in a non-marital relationship and sometimes even a young man in a long-term relationship is more often described as a significant other or partner.
Separating the word into its two components boy friend avoids the romantic implication nowadays, although boy friend used to mean the same as boyfriend does now. However, British and Australian men usually refer to a male friend as a mate. Similarly, Americans and Canadians use the term buddy.
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