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  1. alex_genius_20's Avatar
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    #1

    fair-haired boy

    Hello,
    I know the meaning of 'fair-haired boy' and I know that it's American English old-fashioned informal.

    This is my question:

    Is it really old-fashioned? Don't you American English speakers use it?

    Thank you

  2. probus's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: fair-haired boy

    In my opinion, fair-haired boy has become archaic in AmE. Nobody uses it today.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: fair-haired boy

    I've heard it used in business to speak of someone who is a favorite, often in a negative sense.

    "That's one of the dumbest ideas I've heard in a long time, but it was the idea of [name of CEO]'s fair-haired boy Peter, so I bet we'll be investing in it before long."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: fair-haired boy

    That's interesting to this BrE speaker. So "fair-haired boy" doesn't simply mean "a young man with fair hair"?
    In the context BarbD gave, we would use "the CEO's golden boy".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: fair-haired boy

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    That's interesting to this BrE speaker. So "fair-haired boy" doesn't simply mean "a young man with fair hair"?
    In the context BarbD gave, we would use "the CEO's golden boy".
    Same here. We'd use both. It can be applied to anyone who is in favor, often through no discernible effort of their own. Just like you're born with blond hair through no effort of your own.

    You can also use it in the literal sense.
    Which one is Michael?
    He's that fair-haired boy in the green shirt. He's the blond boy in the green shirt. He's the little tow-head (that's very light blond) in the green shirt.
    Last edited by 5jj; 07-Dec-2013 at 17:21. Reason: minor typo
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  6. probus's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: fair-haired boy

    Two or three generations ago, when I was a lad, it was considered natural by many people that almost any boy would be given preference over any girl, and that a fair-haired boy would be given preference over a dark-haired boy. The idiomatic meaning of fair-haired boy was "chosen one " Today such notions are generally considered not only wrong, but offensive and contemptible. Thus the non-literal residual idiomatic usage of fair-haired boy that Barb_D has mentioned is confined to the contemptuous.
    Last edited by probus; 08-Dec-2013 at 04:13.

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    #7

    Re: fair-haired boy

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    In the context BarbD gave, we would use "the CEO's golden boy".
    Or 'blue-eyed boy'.

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