Babes



a baby or child.
an innocent or inexperienced person.
(usually initial capital letter) Southern U.S. (used, often before the surname, as a familiar name for a boy or man, especially the youngest of a family.)
Slang.

Sometimes Disparaging and Offensive. a girl or woman, especially an attractive one:
Her roommate is a real babe!
an attractive young man.
(sometimes initial capital letter) an affectionate or familiar term of address (sometimes offensive when used to strangers, casual acquaintances, subordinates, etc., especially by a male to a female).

babe in the woods, an innocent, unsuspecting person, especially one likely to be victimized by others:
Some highly informed people are mere babes in the woods where the stock market is concerned.
Also, babe in the wood.
Contemporary Examples

There are parks filled with men pushing strollers and coffee shops where fathers meet their friends, babes in arms.
How Good Dads Can Change the World Gary Barker, PhD, Michael Kaufman January 5, 2015

They were often based on nursery rhymes, like ­­­The Death & Burial of Cock Robin or The babes in the Wood.
Dead and Beautiful: The Art of Taxidermy William O’Connor April 15, 2014

When the sons of God came to earth, they came with one thing in mind: babes.
The Backstory of ‘Noah’ Is Full of Giants, Horny Angels, and a Grieving God Tim Townsend March 27, 2014

Pamela Redmond Satran is the author of four novels about New Jersey housewives, including Suburbanistas and babes in Captivity.
The Real Cost of Real Housewives Pamela Redmond Satran/Nameberry June 19, 2010

The “babes in bikinis” include Chrissy Teigen, Hannah Davis, Ariel Meredith, Jessica Gomes, and Christie Brinkley.
Michelle Obama Wore Carolina Herrera to State Dinner; ‘Sports Illustrated’ Models Make Flight Safety Sexy The Fashion Beast Team February 11, 2014

Historical Examples

At the first morning meal a hubbub took place among mothers with babes.
Seven Legs Across the Seas Samuel Murray

Devote, then, ye mothers of Israel, devote your babes to piety and God!
Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. I Francis Augustus Cox

In my country the folk often feed their babes on goat’s milk, and I would like well to taste goat’s milk cheese again.
Masters of the Guild L. Lamprey

Oh ho, I think they’re out lookin’ for the babes in the woods!
Dwellers in the Hills Melville Davisson Post

Tyrants sought to kill all of these gods when they were babes.
The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. 2 (of 12) Robert G. Ingersoll

noun
a baby
(informal) a naive, gullible, or unsuspecting person (often in the phrase a babe in arms)
(informal) a young woman or man perceived as being sexually attractive
n.

late 14c., short for baban (early 13c.), which probably is imitative of baby talk (cf. babble), however in many languages the cognate word means “old woman” (cf. Russian babushka “grandmother,” from baba “peasant woman”).

Crist crid in cradil, “moder, baba!” [John Audelay, c.1426]

Now mostly superseded by its diminutive form baby. Used figuratively for “a childish person” from 1520s. Meaning “attractive young woman” is 1915, college slang. Babe in the woods is from 1795.

noun

A girl or woman, esp a sexually desirable one; chick, doll •Used almost entirely by men and considered offensive by many women; strong resurgence of use in the 1990s (1915+)

used of children generally (Matt. 11:25; 21:16; Luke 10:21; Rom. 2:20). It is used also of those who are weak in Christian faith and knowledge (1 Cor. 3:1; Heb. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:2). In Isa. 3:4 the word “babes” refers to a succession of weak and wicked princes who reigned over Judah from the death of Josiah downward to the destruction of Jerusalem.

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