In US urban slang, particularly in African American and Latino slang, the term boy is used with a possessive as meaning friend (my boy, his boys), presumably as a reduction of homeboy, originally a male from the same area.
It may feel uncomfortable to a young male upon being referred to as a "man" before he believes he has assumed these roles, such as having a career, a partner, a household of his own, fatherhood, etc., though the addition of a jocular modifier such as "young man" or "little man" might lessen the dissonance.
Conversely, it may feel uncomfortable to a male to be called a "boy" if he believes he has assumed the traditional roles of a "man".
Thus the compound -man can then be replaced by -boy, as in footboy; or boy is simply added, either as a prefix (e.g., in boy-racer) or as a suffix (e.g., in Teddy Boy).
An adult equivalent (with or without -man) is not to be expected when -boy designates an apprentice (for which some languages use a compound with the equivalent of boy, e.g.
A person's boyfriend or loverboy may be of any age; this even applies to a 'working' call-boy, toyboy (though usually younger than the client as youth is generally considered attractive).
Reflecting the general aesthetic preference for youth, one says pretty boy (e.g.
Furthermore, the word may be related to Bōia, an Anglo-Saxon personal name.
Ongoing debates about the influences of nature versus nurture in shaping the behavior of girls and boys raises questions about whether the roles played by boys are mainly the result of inborn differences or of socialization.
It is most common to refer to men, irrespective of age or even in an adult age group, as boys in the context of a team (especially all-male), such as old boys for networking of adult men who attended the same school(s) as boys, or as professional colleagues, e.g.