Pom pom girl

James Brandon

Senior Member
English + French - UK
The word "majorette" in French is supposedly (acc. to the Robert & Collins dictionary) translated into English as "(drum) majorette". Other words known to me include "cheerleader" and "pom pom girl". I would like to know if there is a difference in meaning between "cheerleader" and "pom pom girl", and whether "pom pom girl" is written in two words or one or both.

A quick search on Google has not been illuminating. Americans may be more familiar with the topic... One entry by a former "pom pom girl" is adamant that she was not a "cheerleader", so there must be a difference...


PS My interest in the matter is purely academic; I do not know any pom pom girl and do not intend to become one - in case you were wondering. :)
  • GenJen54

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    There was a time when there was not much difference between "cheerleaders" and pom pom girls. Both cheered from the sidelines, both held pom poms and did some sort of dance.

    Over the past decade, "cheerleading'' has slowly been considered (and pushed itself) to be more of a "sport," where female and male cheerleaders are required to do gymnastics and intricate stunts, such as throwing partners into the air. Some Universities now even offer "athletic" scholarships for their cheerleaders.

    Pom Pom (or Pom pon) girls are more like dance teams. Their function has evolved as well. Many "pom pom" teams now focus more on their members' ability to dance well - think funk/hip hop kind of dancing, not ballroom!

    Cheerleaders still lead cheers and yell. They are more athletic. Pom Pom girls are more the "glamour" girls. They stand on the sidelines, do synchronized "dance" routines and wave their pom poms.

    HERE is a typical cheerleading squad performing a "stunt." Here's another pic of a cheerleading squad practicing a stunt. Note the girl being thrown several meters into the air. She does a "stunt" in the air, and then is "caught" by her team members.

    HERE is a typical Pom Pom (or Dance Team) squad.


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    I almost added that in.

    Yes, majorettes are still a part of many "marching bands," but their role is different.

    Most marching bands (I'm speaking on the University level) - the ones who perform at halftimes during college (American) football teams, and also perform during parades - are led by what are called "Drum Majors." These drum "Majors," sometimes men, sometimes women, conduct and set the cadence for the marching band. Their role is not unlike that of the drum majors who conduct traditional Scots bands.

    "Majorettes," like the cheerleaders and pom pom girls, have also evolved. Today, most majorettes are called "twirlers." They "twirl" batons as part of the pre-game and half-time show and are considered a member of the band. In some instances, there is one "majorette," in others, there is an entire twirling "team" of girls, who may or may not be called majorette.

    "Twirler" is just the more updated name, although some "twirlers" are still called "majorette."

    HERE is a picture of a "twirler/majorette" with the band behind her.

    HERE is a picture of a (US) collage drum major and band.