Where Did the Slang Term “Dude” For Another Male Come From and What Does the Word Mean?

The word dude originated as a Victorian slang word for a man who was effeminate.

It’s a variation of dud or duds, from the Arabic word “dudde”, which means cloak, and was a reference to fancy or foppish clothes.

When vain, fashion-conscious city slickers wanted a taste of the West, they went to a Dude Ranch.

The term dude was kept alive by California surfers and took on its current fellowship meaning from a generation weaned on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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