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According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a boy is "a male child from birth to adulthood".
The word "boy" comes from Middle Englishboi, boye ("boy, servant"), related to other Germanic words for boy, namely East Frisianboi ("boy, young man") and West Frisianboai ("boy"). Although the exact etymology is obscure, the English and Frisian forms probably derive from an earlier Anglo-Frisian *bō-ja ("little brother"), a diminutive of the Germanic root *bō- ("brother, male relation"), from Proto-Indo-European *bhā-, *bhāt- ("father, brother"). The root is also found in Norwegian dialectalboa ("brother"), and, through a reduplicated variant *bō-bō-, in Old Norsebófi, Dutchboef "(criminal) knave, rogue", GermanBube ("knave, rogue, boy"). Furthermore, the word may be related to Bōia, an Anglo-Saxon personal name.
Historically, in the United States and South Africa, "boy" was not only a "neutral" term for domestics but also a disparaging term towards black men; the term implied a subservient status. Thomas Branch, an early African-American Seventh-day Adventist missionary to Nyassaland (Malawi) referred to the native students as "boys":
There is one way by which we judge many of our present boys to be quite different from some of those who were here long ago: those that are married have their wives here with them, and build their own houses, and all are busy making their gardens. I have told all the boys that if they wished to stay here and learn, those that had wives must bring them.
Multiple politicians – including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and former Kentucky Congressman Geoff Davis – have been criticized publicly for referring to a black man as "boy."
Human sex is determined at fertilization when the geneticsex of the zygote has been initialized by a spermcell containing either an X or Y chromosome. If this sperm cell contains an X chromosome, it will coincide with the X chromosome of the ovum and a girl will develop. A sperm cell carrying a Y chromosome results in an XY combination, and a boy will develop.
In male embryos at six to seven weeks' gestation, "the expression of a gene on the Y chromosome induces changes that result in the development of the testes". At approximately nine weeks' gestation, the production of testosterone by a male embryo results in the development of the male reproductive system.
Puberty is the process by which children's bodies mature into adult bodies that are capable of reproduction. On average, boys begin puberty at ages 11–12 and complete puberty at ages 16–17.
In boys, puberty begins with the enlargement of the testicles and scrotum. The penis also increases in size, and a boy develops pubic hair. A boy's testicles also begin making sperm. The release of semen, which contains sperm and other fluids, is called ejaculation. During puberty, a boy's erect penis becomes capable of ejaculatingsemen and impregnating a female. A boy's first ejaculation is an important milestone in his development. On average, a boy's first ejaculation occurs at age 13. Ejaculation sometimes occurs during sleep; this phenomenon is known as a nocturnal emission.
When a boy reaches puberty, testosterone triggers the development of secondary sex characteristics. A boy's muscles increase in size and mass, his voice deepens, his bones lengthen, and the shape of his face and body changes. The increased secretion of testosterone from the testicles during puberty causes the male secondary sexual characteristics to be manifested. Male secondary sex characteristics include:
Boys perform the majority of child labor around the world compared to girls, 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls. Boys are also the primary victims of hazardous child labor. They are mainly employed in agriculture, construction and mining sectors. Boy workers also account for about 87 percent of those who died on the job between 2003 and 2016 in the US.
Boys are given a basic reading, writing and mathematics skill and then forced to pursue their father's profession in order to alleviate financial burden of the family. This is one of the main reasons why boys are preferred over girl by the rural communities in poor countries. In India, by contrast, majority of adopted kids are girls even though boys are preferred in general compared to the girls.
^Differences, Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Understanding the Biology of Sex and Gender; Wizemann, Theresa M.; Pardue, Mary-Lou (November 28, 2001). Sex Begins in the Womb. National Academies Press (US) – via www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
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Clement, Priscilla Ferguson; Reinier, Jacqueline S., eds. (2001). Boyhood in America: an encyclopedia. 2 vol. ABC-CLIO. ISBN978-1-57607-215-8.
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Giese, Rachel (2018). Boys: What it Means to Become a Man. Seal Press. ISBN9781443442916.
Hunt, Peter (2004). International companion encyclopedia of children's literature. Routledge. ISBN9780415290531.
Liu, Fengshu (2006). "Boys as only‐children and girls as only‐children—parental gendered expectations of the only‐child in the nuclear Chinese family in present‐day China". Gender and Education. 18 (5): 491–505. doi:10.1080/09540250600881626. S2CID144525986.
Powell, Sacha; Smith, Kate, eds. (2017). An introduction to early childhood studies. Sage. ISBN9781526417480.
Rose, Clare (2016). Making, selling and wearing boys' clothes in late-Victorian England. Routledge. ISBN9781138261860.
Theriault, Daniel (2018). "A Socio-Historical Overview of Black Youth Development in the United States for Leisure Studies". International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure. 1 (2): 197–213. doi:10.1007/s41978-018-0013-y. S2CID158309254.
Wainman, Ruth (2017). "'Engineering for Boys': Meccano and the Shaping of a Technical Vision of Boyhood in Twentieth-Century Britain". Cultural and Social History. 14 (3): 381–396. doi:10.1080/14780038.2017.1314581. S2CID164528642.
Wolff, Larry (1996). "The Boys Are Pickpockets, and the Girl Is a Prostitute": Gender and Juvenile Criminality in Early Victorian England from Oliver Twist to London Labour". New Literary History. 27 (2): 227–249. doi:10.1353/nlh.1996.0029. JSTOR20057349. S2CID162188050.