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Google translates "dandy" as a man unduly devoted to style, neatness, and fashion in dress and appearance.

Collins translates it as A dandy is a man who thinks a great deal about his appearance and always dresses in smart clothes.

Can the word "dandy" also be used for a lady, a girl, or a boy?

  • 1
    Not for a woman. I wouldn't be that surprised to see it used for a boy. – Peter Shor Aug 11 '18 at 15:12
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    Apart from the more recently popular That's all fine and dandy, I haven't heard this word in decades (but of course, I've often read it, in historical novels and such). It's probably still current as an adjective in various regional dialects, but I wouldn't really recommend using it as a noun for anyone today - male or female / child. – FumbleFingers Aug 11 '18 at 15:43
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    If you still want the "dated" associations, consider man-about-town. Otherwise, I suggest playboy. I don't understand how there could be a "child" version at all though. – FumbleFingers Aug 11 '18 at 15:47
  • With the flexibility in gender these days, I would think you COULD use dandy for a Woman. Keeping in mind it would imbue her with somewhat masculine qualities. Depending on your character development, it might be an interesting character point. – M.Mat Aug 11 '18 at 21:54
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the OED list numerous uses for: dandy, n.1, adj., and adv.

dress, animals, technical and other senses - preceding to things considered neat, colloq - anything superlatively fine, nautical, bantam fowl, and a jug of whiskey

and lists an example of a dandy woman:

1897 S. Hale Lett. (1919) 319 Mrs. B. was a dandy, she didn't fuss nor worry.

entymonline says of dandy:

dandy is diminutive of Andrew (as it was in Middle English generally). OED notes that the word was in vogue in London c. 1813-1819. His female counterpart was a dandizette ...

[!]

(1821) with French-type ending.

The frequency of use is moderate overall. In these times I believe you could use 'dandy' for all manner of things, including genders. Certainly other are. See this recent article An Ode to That Rare Creature, the Female Dandy originating from N.E. America ... where all 'proper' thought arises ... at least in their opinion!

And this from of all places ... Britian: Why Female Black Dandies are the Ultimate Rebels

In fact I myself own a right dandy dog ... bred in England!

  • One can't access the OED without subscription. – Ubi hatt Aug 11 '18 at 19:54
  • it is gen available with a public library card as i have. – lbf Aug 11 '18 at 20:00
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Quaintrelle is the female equivalent of dandy. Its origin is obscure, but it does sound quite good.

  • Why the down vote? – M.Mat Aug 11 '18 at 21:51
  • @M.Mat I guess someone didn't like it very much. – Ricky Aug 11 '18 at 23:49
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    I didn't down vote, but I don't think quaintrelle sounds good. It sounds incredibly obscure. There are no hits in Google books for quaintrelle before 1980. The OED gives one citation for it, in 1450. Nobody seems to have used it in the period when dandy was in vogue (the 19th and early 20th century). The Wiktionary page seems completely misinformed. – Peter Shor Aug 25 '18 at 16:24
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    And its origin is not that obscure; the OED says it's from the obsolete French word cointerelle, which presumably meant the same thing. And this comes from the French word cointe, which meant vain, and the suffix -relle, which is a diminuitive and would specify a woman. – Peter Shor Aug 25 '18 at 16:40
  • @PeterShor: So what's wrong with encouraging a bit of language development? Or must we only use words that have been in use for hundreds of years (i.e. made up by other people)? – Ricky Aug 25 '18 at 17:59

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