person, young

person, young
   The Oxford English Dictionary says that this expression is used of young women, especially, ‘when the speaker does not wish to specify her position as “girl”, “woman” or “lady”.’ The examples of usage quoted all refer to third person reference rather than to direct address, but in Lavengro, by George Borrow, the narrator addresses a girl by this term. In this case the speaker’s vocatives are highly unusual: in the same conversation he also calls the girl ‘pretty damsel sitting in the farm porch’, and ‘O daughter of the dairy’.
   ‘Person’ rarely occurs as a vocative element, but The Newcomes, by William Thackeray, has Arthur Pendennis addressing his wife as ‘you reckless little person’, the context making it clear that an endearment is meant.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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