Learn English – Why are women called chicks


Why are women called chicks? Is there a negative connotation, I do assume there are sexist undertones there. Any idea about the etymology or origin of the term?

Is it derived, in anyway, from 'chic' meaning elegantly and stylishly fashionable?

Best Answer

The etymology and origin of the term has been answered by Hugo so I will limit myself to answering the first two questions.

Why are women called chicks? Is there a negative connotation...

Chick is considered by many women a derogatory term. Why is that? Probably because its primary meaning is that of young bird especially of domestic fowl, more commonly a baby chicken, if you will.

But wait a minute, chicks are pretty fluffy yellow things, they symbolize spring, re-birth, and they are adorably cute too, so the term should be seen a compliment. It might be until we realize that the idiom, "bird brained" refers to a person regarded as silly or stupid. And chickens are famously recognized as being stupid animals. Therefore, chick can describe a pretty (and usually) very young female, but it also implies that the woman is vacuous and empty-headed.

Overall, chick, I would argue carries more negative connotations than positive ones.