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  • Category: Improve Your English

    Who are Tom, Dick and Harry and what is the female equivalent version?

    I had earlier asked: Who is Tom in Tomfoolery?, where mention was made of Tom, Dick and Harry.

    We often use the phrase 'Tom, Dick and Harry' when referring to more than one individual without being specific of who they are, referring to people in general. I was wondering about the origin of this phrase - why the names Tom, Dick and Harry were used particularly and not some other names?

    Also, is there any similar female version of it which is used in written or conversational English, maybe Jane, Jill and Jennifer? Or is it that the male names are used even when referring to ladies?
  • #579014
    If we feel that Tom, Dick and Harry are only males, It is very simple to make Tom, Dick and Harry as females. Just add the letter 'I" to each name viz Tomi, Dicki, Harryi.
    No life without Sun ¤

  • #579028
    The female equivalent of Tom , Dick and Harry may be - Trust , Devote and Honest. Why because the male versions are said for fun but surely the female versions from my side are reasons to believe and they are behind the real men.
    K Mohan
    I consider myself as the learner everyday

  • #579040
    The phrase 'Tom, Dick and Harry' is used to describe nobodies. Its French equivalent is 'Pierre, Paul ou Jacques'.

    Its nearest equivalent in Hindi language is - 'aira gaira natthu khaira'. However, it not clear, if the Hindi phrase describes four persons or only three, the last component i.e. 'Khaira' being a surname of 'Aira, Gaira and Natthu'.

    However, female equivalent could not be traced in any language. It appears that all females are treated as somebody and no female is a nobody.

    Let us encourage each other in sharing knowledge.

  • #579094
    I would appreciate it if members did not do Tomfoolery in this thread, which has clearly been placed in the Improve English category and not in the Entertainment category.

    [Mr. Kailash Kumar - do not use italics HTML tags since we have generally instructed members not to use any HTML tags in responses unless on exceptional occasions if really needed. Since you are putting the words of Indian languages in single quote marks, the need for italics tags does not arise.]

    Regards,
    Vandana
    Managing Editor, IndiaStudyChannel.com


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