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I heard 'dude' used to address a woman. I also read in a dictionary that 'guys' could be used to address a mixed or even completely female group of people (but the same doesn't go for 'guy'). What would you say about that? Are these all limitations concerning the words' applicability to females?

  • You can use those words for mixed, or either sex groups, unless you think you should not, which is another way of saying this is a matter of opinion, and thus liable for closure. – Michael Harvey Dec 24 '19 at 19:36
  • In UK, "Hey guys" can be addressed to a mixed group. We don't use "dude" much here even for men. – Weather Vane Dec 24 '19 at 20:26
  • @MichaelHarvey What does "liable for closure" mean? – dan Dec 24 '19 at 23:40
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    @dan - on ELL Stack Exchange, if a question cannot be rigorously answered, because the subject is a matter of opinion, it qualifies for (is liable for) closure. – Michael Harvey Dec 24 '19 at 23:46
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Whether "guys" can be used to address a group of mixed males and females is debatable. I have heard people say that. It's not unheard of. I would not, as a woman might be insulted by it. Either because she thinks you are leaving her out by "only addressing the guys", or that you are insulting her femininity by calling her by a masculine word. It's easy enough to use other words that clearly can refer to both, like "folks" or "people" or something that specifically describes the group, "co-workers" or "friends" or "taxidermists" or whatever.

"Dude" is a word pretty much limited to very informal use in some sub-cultures. If you were having a business meeting of the company's accountants and you began, "Hey dudes ...", that would be considered distinctly odd. It's appropriate if you're talking to a group of surfers on a beach in California, or a group of skateboarders.

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