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  5. Девочка vs. девушка


Девочка vs. девушка

This course uses девочка as the normal word for girl and translates девушка as girlfriend. It usually, though not always, accepts девушка as a translation for girl. I'd learned девушка as the normal word, and that's what I've mostly heard from Russians. The word I'd learned for girlfriend is подруга, though I've seen девушка used with that meaning as well. What's the difference in meaning between these words, if there is any, and why does Duolingo use девочка instead of девушка? Could a native speaker help me out?

November 5, 2015


  1. Девочка is a female child - a young girl.
  2. Девушка is a lady - a girl. This is also used for your girlfriend, as in the girl you are in a relationship with.
  3. Подруга is a female friend


Also to note that you use 'Девушка' when you want to get the attention of a girl/lady/young woman, for example when in a restaurant.


Yeah, the implication of Девушка in English would be something like "Hey, Brad, are you bringing your girl with you to the movie tonight?" and not "A girl at the grocery store was holding a balloon"


I'm going to make a guess. Девушка means a girl or a young woman, девочка implies a younger girl. They picked девочка as being a closer parallel to мальчик. Подруга is the word for girlfriend, but Russian speakers, just like English speakers, will sometimes say девушка instead of подруга just as an English speaker might sometimes talk about his girl instead of his girlfriend. Is that right?


Девочка is strictly a parallel to мальчик, as far as this course is concerned. A Russian woman cannot use моя девушка instead of моя подруга without implying a same-sex relationship.


Thanks for the answer. So does подруга just mean a female friend and not necessarily one's girlfriend? I would have assumed that моя девушка would generally mean one's girlfriend (and therefore imply a same-sex relationship if used by a woman), even if девушка (not моя девушка) just means girl.


"Подруга" can be a female friend of another girl. Just a friend, without any romantic or sexual relationship. "Моя девушка" - yes, this implies a romantic/sexual relationship.


Thanks for the answers, everyone.


I keep waiting to see whether девчонка will make an appearance. It seemed to be a very popular term when I was in Russia, and seems to be roughly equivalent to "gal."


Девчонка would be diminutive of девочка, I think. So far the course hasn't used diminutives. You could see if it's accepted as a translation.

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