My problem is this; the words “boy” and “girl” denote youth (at least to me), while “man” and “woman” denote more of an adult. While I am aware of just adding “young” before “man” or “woman”, but that feels clunky and too formal, so is there some intermediary word between the two?

  • 1
    Teen was a common word in my day, but I hear it less now. A thesaurus might be the place to look.
    – wetcircuit
    Jul 28 at 23:26
  • 1
    How about adolescent?
    – Allan
    Jul 28 at 23:33
  • Teen/adolescent (and other synonyms) is good, as well as helpful, but there’s one thing it doesn’t have. It lacks specific gender, which is the main thing I’m asking. Still though, that will be helpful for future reference.
    – Bill
    Jul 28 at 23:33
  • I think this question may be better suited for English SE. Other languages have specific words that you are asking for, but there is no good one-word English translations for them.
    – Alexander
    Jul 29 at 0:06
  • @wetcircuit 'youth' is another slightly outdated term which is male gender-specific, though possibly BrEng. An outdated USEng female-specific term might be 'bobbysoxer' perhaps
    – BoldBen
    Jul 29 at 8:53

Lad and lass are somewhat appropriate if writing for a UK audience. Generally a lad or lass isn't a small child but somewhere between ten and twenty or so.


Youngster is a good word you could use. It is not too familiar, and it has an affectionate ring to it. It means:

a young person, usually an older child:

  • The scheme is for youngsters between the ages of ten and 16. (Cambridge)

Youth is another option, and depending on the context it can be quite poetic. It means:

a boy or a young man:

  • Gangs of youths were throwing stones and bottles at the police.

As for juvenile, it is too technical, usually used in legal writing.

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