Posted by ESC on July 12, 2005
In Reply to: "Girl Friday" posted by David FG on July 12, 2005
: : What does the phrase "Boy Friday" or "Girl Friday" mean exactly? Where did it come from? (Could it be from the character, Friday, in Robinson Crusoe?)
: They mean an indispensable assistant: a cross between a secretary, a PA, a valet, a chauffeur, a maid-of-all work, etc.
: Yes, they do come from Man Friday in Defoe's novel.
From the archives:
MAN FRIDAY/ GIRL FRIDAY - A man Friday is: "An efficient and devoted aide or employee; a right-hand man. Friday is a character in Daniel Defoe's novel, 'The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner,' published 1719-1720. Friday is the young native man rescued by Robinson Crusoe, certainly the best-known castaway in literature.(Crusoe) calls him 'man Friday' because he met him on a Friday. 'Girl Friday' is a term, now frowned upon, for a resourceful female assistant, made popular by the classic 1940 comedy adaptation of 'The Front Page' (His Girl Friday) starting Rosalind Russell as an ace reporter and Cary Grant as her cynical editor and ex-husband." From the "Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Allusions" by Elizabeth Webber and Mike Feinsilber (Merriam-Webster, Springfield, Mass., 1999). "His Girl Friday" review at http://www.tvguide.com/movies/database/ShowMovie.asp?MI=423 Accessed May 15, 2003.