Being a chill dudette from Cali, I can attest that “dude” has greater shades of meaning than just way for two young men to address each other. I'm the girl who was nicknamed “Dude” because I would say “Dude, what's up?” when a friend called me. It morphed into her saying just “Duuuude” when she called me. I instantly knew it was her. Another friend, asked, “Dude, howcome you say dude so much?” I answered, “Dude, I don't know.” All of this makes me an self-professed expert on uses of the word, “Dude.”
Let's look at a fictitious conversation:
Person#1: Dude! Where's my car?
Person#2: Dude! I don't know!
By using an exclaimation point, “dude” becomes a word which signals others to pay attention—an interjection. Person #3 takes “dude” to a whole new level by extending it over the u. Person #3 expresses sympathy, dismay or surprise at the events which have transpired. Confused?
A chill dudette like me can't comprehend the confusion when Dictionary.com spells it out so nicely for the last word that shared a cross-gender expression; man.
Slang. a term of familiar address to a man or a woman: Hey, man, take it easy.
Slang. an expression of surprise, enthusiasm, dismay, or other strong feeling: Man, what a ball game!
Man! How could you forget? This was seen frequently in popular film and television. Perhaps the very people who are confused by a chick saying, “Dude” often used “Man” in their day without regard for the address going to a man or a woman.
Let's change Dictionary.com to include these very real meanings of Dude:
Slang. a term of familiar address to a man or a woman: Dude, chill.
–interjection . an expression of surprise, enthusiasm, dismay, or other strong feeling: Dude! Where's my car? Or just: Dude! Also: Duuuuuuuude! Or even: Duhuhude!
In case interjections confuse you, here is an updated Schoolhouse Rock explanation:
So when you're happy (Hurray!) (Dude!)
or sad (Aw!) (Dude!)
Or frightened (Eeeeeek!) (Dude!)
or mad (Rats!) (Dude!)
Or excited (Wow!) (Dude!)
or glad (Hey!) (Dude!)
An interjection starts a sentence right.
By now it should be clear that many uses of the word “dude” are acceptable coming from a woman.
Dude, my work is done.
Dude! I love comments!