In the tabloids, when a celebrity woman is pictured with their boyfriend it is captioned: Someone Famous with her Beau. Just because they have a new boyfriend doesn’t make that guy instantly Beautiful! So why does the media continue to call them this? Like I did with the phrase Bringing Sexy Back, I researched this word and discovered a few interesting things.
Beau is the French word for beautiful. That I already knew and was surprised to discover that the Urban Dictionary also defined it this way. Other definitions listed in the modern dictionary included: lover and boyfriend. Scrolling down the page, I discovered a more in-depth definition of the word (Read it here Urban Dictionary: beau), it states that beau is a term girls use to lay claim to a guy by literally calling him her property in a non-sexual way. It also stated southern women commonly use this term.
I guess it makes sense. A woman in love would call her man beautiful and lay claim to him. Per the definition, it is a word that a girl would use herself to describe her boyfriend. Since reading the definitions, my interpretation of the word has changed. I am now aware that the articles are referring to a boyfriend, not calling the man beautiful. The definition gives me the impression beau should only be used for long term boyfriends. The media uses beau as early as the third citing of the couple. They should wait until a steady relationship has been established (i.e. living together or the celebrity publicly acknowledging the relationship.)
While browsing the dictionary, I found the correct pronunciation of Beau, which is B-Oh. I always said Boo. Then I was confused again, don’t guys call their friends Bo? (Example: Ron Shirley from Lizard Lick Towing.) Does this mean they are calling their friends beautiful?
I turned once again to the Urban dictionary for the answer. Several of the posts defined the word Bo as B.O. (Body Odor), another labeled it a name of an illegal drug, and a few called it a male friend. I found two definitions that supported my thought. One defined the word as a beautiful, strong male and referenced beau and beaux, both French words for beautiful. (See it here: Urban Dictionary: Bo) The other definition gave the origin of the word: the South!
My research has led me to this conclusion: The American language is taken from many others throughout the world. This is what makes us unique. I am aware that the southern states were highly populated by French settlers and their language was a commonly spoken by the higher classes through out history, mainly in Georgia and Louisiana. Apparently, somewhere in time the meaning and spelling of Beau got distorted creating Bo (a male friend). Also, the tabloids must have recently hired a lot of Southern writers or are trying to use the southern language to attract readers in that area.