The Words “Blond” and “Blonde” are Not Wholly Synonymous
Today I found out the words “blond” and “blonde” are not wholly synonymous. So what’s the difference between the words “blond” and “blonde”? (besides the obvious extra ‘e’)
The difference is simply in what gender the word is referring. When referring to a woman with yellow hair, you should use the feminine spelling “blonde”. When referring to a male with yellow hair, you should use the spelling “blond”.
This then is one of the few cases of an adjective in English that uses distinct masculine and feminine forms.
- The word blond derives from the Old French word “blund”, meaning literally “a color midway between golden and light chestnut”. “Blund” then is typically thought to have come from the Latin word “blundus”, which was a vulgar pronunciation of the Latin “flavus”, which means “yellow”. The French origin of the word “blond” is how we get the added “e” on the end when using the feminine form.
- Another oft’ misused spelling of a word is fiancé vs. fiancée. The former is a male engaged to be married; the latter, with the extra ‘e’, is a woman engaged to be married.
- “Blond” first appeared in English around 1481 and was later reintroduced in the 17th century; and has since gradually replaced the term “fair”, in English, to describe yellow hair.
- “Blond” isn’t the only hair color that has alternate spellings based on whether it refers to male or female hair. The word “brunet” also shares that distinction. The spelling is “brunet” when referring to a man’s hair and “brunette” when referring to a woman’s hair.
- Alfred Hitchcock liked to cast blonde women for main characters in his films as he believed people would suspect them least, hence the term “Hitchcock blonde”.
- A person with a typical full blond head of hair will have about 120,000 hairs on their head; brunets average about 100,000 hairs on their heads while red heads generally only average around 80,000 hairs.
- Hair does not grow faster or longer the more you cut it.
- While the previous “old wives’ tale”, that hair grows faster/longer the more it is cut, has been proven false; another such long held adage, that stress contributes in making your hair go gray faster, has been proven true. This is because the same effects of stress in your body that do damage to DNA also deplete the melanocyte stem cells in hair follicles. These MSCs are responsible for making pigment producing cells.
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