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How come we say “guy” or “you guys” when talking to a group of people.



Hey guys, what’s going on? How come we say “guy” or “you guys” when talking to a group of people. 

Today, the 5th November 1605, Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of Parliament with several barrels of gunpowder. He was part of a group that wanted to destroy parliament and King James I.

He was sent to the Towers of London, interrogated, tortured, tried, convicted and executed before the end of January 1606. Parliament declared November the 5th as a national day of thanksgiving. Over the years traditions developed so that bonfires were lit with an effigy of Guy Fawkes (the Guy). Fireworks were set off to signify the gunpowder plot collapsing.

In the fires, they burned dummies of Guy Fawkes mocking the man who hadn’t succeeded. They referred to the effigies of Fawkes as “guy.” And then some people began to use “guy” to refer to actual people: men of the lowest and most depraved kind. Over time it shifted to working-class men and then to every male, from baby boys to old men. Authors found it useful to have a generic term that didn’t require distinguishing among categories of males. By the middle of the 20th century, women began to apply the word too when addressing others in the plural, regardless of gender. 

Remember, remember the fifth of November, 
Gunpowder treason and plot. 
We see no reason 
Why gunpowder treason 
Should ever be forgot! 

Guy Fawkes, guy, t'was his intent 
To blow up king and parliament. 
Three score barrels were laid below 
To prove old England's overthrow. 

By god's mercy he was catch'd 
With a darkened lantern and burning match. 
So, holler boys, holler boys, Let the bells ring. 
Holler boys, holler boys, God save the king. 

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