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  1. #1
    Nefertiti is offline Member
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    Default a beautiful girl

    Is it OK to call a beautiful girl a swan or a peacock?

    Do you call a beautiful girl a chick?
    A chick, is considered offensive by many women. Why?

    Which animal is considered an icon for a beautiful girl/woman in English?
    Any ideas ?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    banderas's Avatar
    banderas is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: a beautiful girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Nefertiti View Post
    Is it OK to call a beautiful girl a swan or a peacock?

    Do you call a beautiful girl a chick?
    A chick, is considered offensive by many women. Why?

    Think of the context. Who says that, why...and whether it's said with a playful smile or sneeringly. It all depends...

    Which animal is considered an icon for a beautiful girl/woman in English?
    Any ideas ?
    Definitely a bird. Men also say totty.


    Thanks
    c

  3. #3
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: a beautiful girl

    Which animal is considered an icon for a beautiful girl/woman in English?
    Any ideas ?
    Definitely a bird. Men also say totty.

    Highly offensive and to be avoided unless you are in a very louche and rough area.

  4. #4
    philadelphia's Avatar
    philadelphia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: a beautiful girl

    I keep saying bird about a beautiful one. It might be too much informal, though.

  5. #5
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    banderas is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: a beautiful girl

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    Which animal is considered an icon for a beautiful girl/woman in English?
    Any ideas ?
    Definitely a bird. Men also say totty.

    Highly offensive and to be avoided unless you are in a very louche and rough area.
    Totty is offensive, it is beyond any disscussion. What about a bird?

  6. #6
    Anglika is offline No Longer With Us
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    Default Re: a beautiful girl

    Quote Originally Posted by banderas View Post
    Totty is offensive, it is beyond any disscussion. What about a bird?

    Inoffensive on the whole.

  7. #7
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: a beautiful girl

    "Peacock" has connotations of "pride"; "swan" would suggest a long neck. Robert Graves talks about "The wild-swan-breasted, the rose-ruddy-cheeked / Raven-haired daughters of their admiration", in one of his poems; but he had unusual tastes.

    The British fauna is poor in Mammalia; most of the related metaphors are uncomplimentary. Thus a mouse is quiet; a shrew is virulent; a vixen is vicious, as is a polecat; a badger is irritatingly persistent; squirrels compulsively hide things away; weasels are sneakingly malevolent. (Pine martens seem to have no attributes.)

    Sometimes attractive women with a particular facial configuration are described as "feline"; but "catty" means "given to malicious comments". Audrey Hepburn was often called fawn-like, and consequently liked to be photographed with deer. A "fox" is an obviously sexually attractive female; the expression tends to be used by middle-aged men with sports cars.

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

  8. #8
    Nefertiti is offline Member
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    Default Re: a beautiful girl

    Hi MrP.

    Is it OK to call a beautiful girl a swan or a peacock? Is it common usage?

    2. Do you call a beautiful girl a chick?
    A chick, is considered offensive by many women. Why?

    Someone was questioning who says that? It's from Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary.

    I wonder why it's offensive to most women?

    3. totty Noun. Sexually alluring female or females, also applied, these days, to males. Originally a term for a prostitute in late 1800s. E.g."There was plenty of totty at the party."

    A dictionary of slang - "T" - English slang and colloquialisms of the UK.


    Thanks for the reply.

  9. #9
    MrPedantic is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: a beautiful girl

    Hello Nef,

    1. No, it's not common usage; "peacock" suggests "pride", not "beauty"; "swan" might work in a poem, but would perhaps suggest "grace" or "whiteness", rather than "beauty".

    2. No; "chick" can refer to any girl, irrespective of appearance. I would class it as "outmoded slang"; though "outmoded slang" is sometimes used for humorous effect.

    I imagine it might be considered offensive because of its implications of small size, fluffiness, and general helplessness. (A "chick" is a baby bird.)

    3. It would probably not be wise to call an attractive female "totty" to her face, unless you were confident that she would respond amicably. I imagine it might be considered offensive because of its focus on sexual characteristics.

    Best wishes,

    MrP

    Not a professional ESL teacher.

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