Is it offensive to refer to someone as a bird?

Is it similar to calling someone a chick in the US?

What's the difference?

closed as primarily opinion-based by tchrist, user19148, choster, p.s.w.g, Brian Hooper Jul 8 '13 at 19:59

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • By "someone", do you mean a female person? You talk of using "chick" in the USA - which country are you asking about as regards "bird"? – TrevorD Jul 8 '13 at 15:54
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    @Trevor, "How offensive?" seems to be an opinion based question, be the case male or female! – user19148 Jul 8 '13 at 16:27
  • a normal use would be "early birds" – Eduard Gamonal Jul 8 '13 at 21:36

Well only a woman can be a bird. Yes it's similar to 'chick' in the US. It's not a particularly offensive word but you wouldn't use it in any sort of polite company or probably when women were present. In fact you probably wouldn't use it at all as it sounds somewhat dated to the 70s and 80s.

  • Just a few days ago, a Liverpudlian truck-driver in a recently-filmed documentary said to camera, "I 'ope me bird 'as me tea on when I get 'ome," which might indicate that it is still in current regional usage. – Andrew Leach Jul 8 '13 at 17:15
  • It is in wide use. I hear it all the time, see my answer. – Aaron Jul 8 '13 at 18:37
  • @AndrewLeach Could the truck driver be "dated to the 70s and 80s"? – hunter2 Jul 9 '13 at 11:41
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    Interestingly enough, according to Joe Gores, the mystery writer, this was not true in the 1920s. Then men were birds. (You can find this in one of his short stories, but none of them seem to be online.) – Andrew Lazarus Jul 9 '13 at 14:03
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    Calling a lady a bird was commonplace in the late 1900s. Now it's less so, but the British have a habit of reviving these types of words to use playfully, so people will say stuff like "no problem chap", despite chap being very dated generally. These revivals tend to be localised, in both time and space, as well. – Carl Smith Jul 10 '13 at 2:48

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