What Does the Word “Tomboy” Mean and Where Did the Term For Masculine Girls Come From?

A tomboy has meant a bold, aggressive girl since about 1579, but before that, a “Tom” was a boisterous, rude boy.

If you think of the nighttime habits of a tomcat you might understand that a tomboy, a girl who liked the company of men, was used as late as the 1930s as a reference to a prostitute.

This use of the word torn is from the Anglo-Saxon word “tumbere”, meaning to dance and tumble around.