Bimbo, airhead, featherbrain, trophy wife, etc.

kuleshov

Senior Member
Spain Spanish
In Spanish you call a woman "< -- Spanish deleted -->" "a flowerpot woman" when she is sort of a dumb blonde. The metaphor is really good in Spanish, because it conveys the idea of a person who is empty, that only puts on beautiful clothes and accessories.
What do you call these women in English? Bimbos?
 
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  • GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Bimbo doesn't quite work for me. The women in this picture are dressed how I envision "bimbo." (This is actually one of those "painted" cut-outs you stick your head through for a photograph, but I think it gets the point across.)

    Bimbo means she dresses in a sexy manner: i.e. tight clothing, high heels, lots of cleavage, etc.

    I cannot think of any specific reference that translates well. Women like this who are married are sometimes called "trophy wives" (especially if they are much younger than their husbands).
     

    Roi Marphille

    Senior Member
    Catalonia, Catalan.
    kuleshov said:
    In Spanish you call a woman "una mujer florero" "a flowerpot woman" when she is sort of a dumb blonde. The metaphor is really good in Spanish, because it conveys the idea of a person who is empty, that only puts on beautiful clothes and accessories.
    What do you call these women in English? Bimbos?
    Hi kileshov,
    I agree with your definition but I'd like to add that, at least in my point of view, they are always accompained by (a) man/men. The adjective "florero" adds this "to-make-more-beautiful-a-place" sense, forniture...you know what I mean? So a "mujer florero" are usually...let's say "used" for the photo. I can't imagine a "mujer florero" alone by herself. Then she might not be called florero but other imaginative adjectives.
    Is it senseful?
     

    mikey420

    New Member
    USA english
    Hi Kuleshov,Yes in english she could be called a bimbo,but this is a rather stronginsult...not an actual curse word,but it will definitely piss someone off.It's used for any woman who is/seems dumb,and sometimes a guy also(like a male fashion model.If you've seen a movie titled ''zoolander'',you'll know what I mean).Some other words that convey the same meaning are: ''aditz'',''ditzy'',''dizzy'',''vacant'',''airhead'',''space-case'',''space queen'',and that old,treasured favorite,''dumb bitch''(I know...dumb bitch isn't politically correct and is crude and sexist,but there's probably not one among us who hasn't at least muttered it under their breath from time to time,even your's truly je,je. ).We also say ''flighty'',''hairbrained'',''featherbrained'' and ''scatterbrained''.salud,mikey.
     

    mikey420

    New Member
    USA english
    sorry...stupid keyboard is fouled up.Yeah,I forgot that bimbo can also describe a woman who wears clothesconsidered to be whorish,wears too much make-up,acts like a tramp/uneducated,or marries strictly for money.
     

    daviesri

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I would say bimbo works. To me a Bimbo an attractive woman who is not all that bright. I have never thought of it as meaning a woman who dresses in a very trashy manner.

    Another option is "Arm Candy". This can be a male or female that looks good on your arm when in public but that is about it. They are attractive but not all that bright.

    Another term I have heard is "window dressing". As in the display window of a retail store. The store window looks very attractive but when you go inside there is nothing special inside.
     

    nycphotography

    Senior Member
    American English
    a fashion accessory (only someone to be seen with)
    a trophy wife (marriable her only for appearances)
    ditzy (empty headed)


    And yes, bimbo doesn't necessarily mean sexy, or dressed sexy. It really pretty much just means empty headed.
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    I agree on bimbo.

    kuleshov wrote: What about "eye candy"?
    No, because that does not also connote that they are empty headed. It refers only to being beautiful, so in fact it's a compliment to the person so described. Just possibly, it might be taken as a mild insult toward the person who is looking at the eye candy, as an implication that the looker is too easily dazzled by beauty.

    mikey420 wrote:
    ''dumb bitch''(I know...dumb bitch isn't politically correct and is crude and sexist,but there's probably not one among us who hasn't at least muttered it under their breath from time to time,even your's truly je,je. ).We also say ''flighty'',''hairbrained'',''featherbrained'' and ''scatterbrained''
    These are far off the mark. You only call a woman a bitch out of anger, to publicly humiliate them, or to suggest they are aggressive or malicious. (Well, maybe very young Americans have started to use "bitch" as mikey claims, but I'm not aware of this.) You don't call a woman a bitch just because you think she's stupid and pretty, or just because she's a woman. As for mikey's other words, a bimbo is a woman who combines stupidity with silly remarks and emphasis on her clothes and grooming. Finally, hairbrained (a word not really used these days, except maybe by very old people) is the wrong spelling. That word is hare-brained. A hare (liebre in kuleshov's language) is that animal that's like a rabbit (conejo), but bigger.
     

    GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    After looking at all of these options, I like "window dressing" myself. It suggests an idea that the woman is "all fluff, and no substance."

    Perhaps it is just how I understood bimbo, but to my ears - and eyes - a bimbo is someone who is not only insufficient of grey matter, but banks only her good looks - which she's not afraid to show off - as a means of getting by in life. Anna Nicole Smith is a notable example of a classic "bimbo" as I understand the word.
     

    E-J

    Senior Member
    England, English
    We can also say that someone (usually female) is "a clotheshorse" - meaning that she's excessively concerned with dressing fashionably and implying that there's not much else to her personality.
     

    winklepicker

    Senior Member
    English (UK)
    Airhead?

    Token woman can also mean the only woman in an otherwise male group (on the board of directors for example), placed there to pay lip service to equality. Dumb blonde might be better.
     

    News

    Member
    Spanish, Catalan
    What about "Barbie girl"?

    I thought it was a usual expression...in fact, there is an old song of a group (Acqua, I think, though I guess they were french...) which said "I'm a Barbie girl in a Barbie world".

    I interpreted that the girl of that song was a "mujer florero".
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I think that's very good, News!

    I think I'd go for "Barbie doll" rather than "Barbie girl." A Barbie girl can be a little girl who is obsessed with collecting Barbie dolls and emulating the dolls. If you call a grown woman a Barbie doll, it's clear that she dresses very well, is attractive, and doesn't have much going on upstairs. That sounds like the original "una mujer florero".
     

    clairanne

    Senior Member
    english UK
    hi

    I think " Arm candy" or "blonde bimbo"/bimbette
    Everyone would understand what was meant by this in England.

    Or why not "Dumb Blonde" - if she is blonde. It describes the stereotype blonde as portrayed by the likes of Barbara Windsor or Marilyn Monroe in several of their movies.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    hi

    I think " Arm candy" or "blonde bimbo"/bimbette
    Everyone would understand what was meant by this in England.

    Or why not "Dumb Blonde" - if she is blonde. It describes the stereotype blonde as portrayed by the likes of Barbara Windsor or Marilyn Monroe in several of their movies.
    I think the trick is that a dumb blonde may not dress well at all; she may be very casual in her dress. In California, a dumb blonde is more likely to be found in shorts and a halter top or a short t-shirt than in fine clothes.

    The women on that reality show with Hugh Hefner ("The Girls Next Door"?) are what I would call Dumb Blondes. They might be dressed up from time to time but they certainly don't seem to have any sense of style to go with the clothes. :) It seems like "mujer florero" includes a sense of stylishness.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    A special, though almost off-topic, word of thanks to whichever of my colleagues changed the title of this thread. I'm still chuckling over the image that came to mind when I saw it first. You know the idea. Pulling the petals off the daisy:
    bimbo, airhead, featherbrain, trophy wife, bimbo, airhead, featherbrain, trophy wife, bimbo, airhead ...
    Oh, it's airhead tonight then :D
     

    Orange Blossom

    Senior Member
    U.S.A. English
    Problem with "dumb blonde" as a translation for the Spanish phrase is it applies equally to single women and does not indicate anything about her manner of dressing, just her intelligence.

    Barbie doll also doesn't necessarily convey the idea of having a man, nor does in necessarily convey the idea of empty-headedness. Fashionable yes.

    I would choose "show wife". This conveys the meaning of fancy dress, not necessarily bright, and has a man/husband. I have seen the phrase used for just that purpose in recently published fantasy literature.

    Orange Blossom
     

    danielxu85

    Senior Member
    Mandarin Chinese
    I read through a previous posting on airhead, but I think that discussion cannot fully answer my question, so I am starting a new thread.

    Is "airhead" a British slang? Is it only constrained to describing people who have no brains? Or does it mean anyone who is stupid? Is it the meaning in the following context?

    One of my friends said the following to me the other day (I like his usage a lot, but I wanted to make sure that when I use the term, I can use it correctly too!):


    It's a bit tricky writing in a breezy style without accidentally making yourself sound like an airhead.

    Is it because that he mentioned "breezy" earlier, using airhead can keep the metaphor coherent (although airhead in this context has nothing to do with air)?
     

    chifladoporlosidiomas

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    We use airhead in AmE, too. It's usually a stereotypical blond, affluent teenage/mid-twenties girl who is unbelievable ignorant to the world. She makes comments that leave one wondering about her intelligence. Could also be a boy, but very rarely
     

    soccergal

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Airhead is referred to anybody who acts without thinking. It can be any gender, any age, and contrary to what long-name-guy said, plenty of boys are airheads. Visit any middle school and see for yourself. But seriously, it doesn't necessarily mean that the person is stupid. You might call someone (jokingly) an airhead if they do something stupid. Like today when I looked today's mail on the counter on my way out to check the mailbox. A similar term would be absentminded.
    In your example, I believe that the writer is having fun with the language. Airhead and breezy are both idioms (figures of speech). Many other words could have been used to construct this sentence, but these two share the theme of air.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I like Mrs.Soccergal's explanation of airhead, Daniel. For me it has less to do with 'stupidity' than with 'lack of serious connected thought':)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    And note that a "trophy wife" is usually one that is younger and very attractive. She may or may not be intelligent--it is not inherent in the job description that she have a low IQ. And also note though others might call her a trophy wife, the husband might not think of her in those terms and she might not either.
     
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