- a boy or youth.
- Informal. a familiar or affectionate term of address for a man; chap.
- British Horseracing Informal. a stable boy.
- informal, usually derogatory characteristic of male adolescents or young men, esp by being rowdy, macho, or immatureladdish behaviour
- a boy or young man
- informal a familiar form of address for any male
- a lively or dashing man or youth (esp in the phrase a bit of a lad)
- a young man whose behaviour is characteristic of male adolescents, esp in being rowdy, macho, or immature
- British a boy or man who looks after horses
n.c.1300, ladde “foot soldier,” also “young male servant” (attested as a surname from late 12c.), possibly from a Scandinavian language (cf. Norwegian -ladd, in compounds for “young man”), but of obscure origin in any case. OED hazards a guess on Middle English ladde, plural of the past participle of lead (v.), thus “one who is led” (by a lord). Liberman derives it from Old Norse ladd “hose; woolen stocking.” “The development must have been from ‘stocking,’ ‘foolish youth’ to ‘youngster of inferior status’ and (with an ameliorated meaning) to ‘young fellow.'” He adds, “Words for socks, stockings, and shoes seem to have been current as terms of abuse for and nicknames of fools.” Meaning “boy, youth, young man” is from mid-15c. Scottish form laddie, a term of endearment, attested from 1540s.