Female equivalent of 'son'


I’m looking for a female equivalent to ‘son’ as used by older men when speaking to a younger man or boy that isn’t necessarily their biological son. Something that gives off that fatherly (or condescending) tone.

i.e “Come here, son, I’ll teach you a thing or two about life.”

Obviously, replacing ‘son’ with ‘daughter’ wouldn’t really cut it in this context, unless it’s a priest talking. ‘Child’ also has a priestly vibe. ‘Young woman’, maybe?

Any suggestions?


I have used missy. 20 letters


I thought of that but ‘missy’ sounds snippy to me, like the person saying it is pissed about something… I’m really looking for a word that can feel more benevolent and fatherly.


Young lady is usually what my parents used


“Girl” perhaps? I had teachers (condescendingly, IMO) refer to me this way when I was young.


I don’t think this will help much, but my dad has called me “turkey” and “punk” when I was younger. Maybe a nickname could convey fatherly benevolence?


Like Lizzy, I immediately identified with young lady, but in a context purely made with the intention to scold. If you’re seeking a term which is more all-encompassing, perhaps young one or my lass…


Girl, lass, maybe dear/darling/honey? It can depend on how the character would speak, their social class and maybe regional dialect.


I think ‘girl’ is most appropriate if it’s detached and unemotional, or ‘lass’ if they have an accent, ‘missy’ if the kid is in trouble and ‘dear’ if it’s meant to be affectionate.


I think “kid” tends to be used interchangeably with “son” and it’s gender neutral. Could be used for a girl, or someone nonbinary.Also, I think taking out the -y in “missy” and just saying “miss” takes out a lot of the snippiness. I’ve been called “miss” when I was a kid and it was always more cute and jokey, if anything.


Some people would also use “girlie” or “little lady”, I found that happened a lot with older people when I was little.


Or passive-aggressive.


“Young lady” was used in “polite” situations … this usually meant “We’ll talk about this more, later, in private”

“Girly” was used in situations where the adult was being sarcastic-aggressive as in: “Your going to get your fool hand cut if you play with that hunting knife, girly…”

“Girl” was used when the adult wanted to put me in my place, as in “Get your butt in this house, girl, before I turn that bottom red…”


Well any term can be either sweet or condescending, I mean for instance when my aunt calls me sweetheart it’s nice, when my boss does it makes me feel like I’m in the 1950s


I think that lass would be the most appropriate in that context at least in my opinion.


I like ‘lass’ a lot, but it’s a very British English word. I wish there were an American English equivalent.


how about a combo, young miss?


I always liked little miss :slight_smile:


That’s all I got lol


Maybe this can help?