General Etiquette > Life...in general

Dude, is this rude?

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Morty'sCleaningLady:
I don't think it's a nice term for a woman.  If you don't remember her name, just don't use a lead in.  Just say "Please, pass the chips" or "Did you think the dancing Clydesdale was cute?"

TootsNYC:
Actually, I think it's an incredibly casual sort of address, and it's got a cheeky feel to it.

Because of that cheeky vibe, I wouldn't use it to a guy or gal just to say "pass the chips."

I'd say, "Dude, you really thought that was a great pass?"
or I'd say, "Dude! Way to go!"

But I would never say, "Dude, pass the chips" unless I'd asked him 3 times and he hadn't heard me or had gotten sidetracked.

Julian:
Hey Dude, don't call me Dude! 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NbLhHtaVIO4

 ;D  Hey, someone had to say it!

Aussie here, so dude isn't common.  But it wouldn't bug me in the slightest.  It's no worse than 'mate' or similar. 

Sharnita:
I think Wikipedia does a fairly good job of covering th word as I understand it. The fact that it originates from Americna English kind of makes our usage a bit different that other English speakers, I think.  It also mentions it can include both gendes but frequently is used to indicate males.  Finally, there are more than one usage/meaning.

For that reason it doesn't particularly offend me.

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