groomsman vs. best man

danielxu85

Senior Member
Mandarin Chinese
I would be grateful if you could shed some light on the differences between groomsman and best man.

I looked up the word groomsman, and found that he tends to the bridegroom during the wedding, and usually the best man. However, I thought that a bridegroom can have several groomsmen, but just one best man. I am not entirely clear. According to tradition, is it true that if the bridegroom has brothers,one of his brothers serves as the best man, unless they have a public fallout?
 
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The best man is the head groomsman. You do not have to have your brothers in your wedding party though it is common. If the groom picks a friend as the best man, you can't assume that he hates his brother.
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I hadn't realised until now that the best man is a groomsman, but sure enough, he is.
    groomsman
    A young man acting as friend or attendant on the bridegroom at a marriage, either alone (as ‘best man’) or as one of a company;
    OED
    I suppose that's because the best man is referred to as the best man, not as a groomsman.
    The only use of groomsman that I have come across is in relation to the others - the "less than best" men :)
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    She can also be called the maid of honour - a term used more often in AmE. If she is married, the term matron of honour is also used. If you've got little girls carrying flowers, they are flower girls.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think maid (or matron)-of-honor is used almost exclusively in traditional American English.

    (You can't rule out other terms being used by people who have immigrated from other cultures but that's the go-to term. It's a great honor to be someone's maid-of-honor.)
     

    Roxxxannne

    Senior Member
    English (northeastern US)
    She can also be called the maid of honour - a term used more often in AmE. If she is married, the term matron of honour is also used. If you've got little girls carrying flowers, they are flower girls.
    Also little boys carrying flowers or blowing soap bubbles from a soap bubble gun are called flower boys. Aww.
    Women who stand up on the groom's side have, in my non-heteronormative extended and not-so-extended family, been called groomswomen, and bridesman is the equivalent on the bride's side.
    Laugh you may about young people today, but it is get-out-the-hanky time when you see a petite young woman in a dress, matching the bridesmaids' dresses, standing in the group of young men next to her big brother.
     
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