Blond vs. blonde

In French, blond is masculine and blonde is feminine. This distinction generally extends to the English adjectives, especially in British English, where blonde is more common than blond (mainly because the word is used in reference to females more often than than to males). In American and Canadian English, blond is generally preferred over blonde in all cases—even in reference to female hair color—though a minority of writers continue to observe the gender distinction. In any case, using blonde in reference to male hair is simply a misspelling.

The use of blonde as a noun in reference to a female with blonde hair is best avoided because it can be interpreted as sexist.


These British publications take gender into account when using blonde and blond:

The blonde bombshell struck one sultry pose after another which perfectly highlighted her long tanned limbs. [Daily Mail]

He should be delighted with his smooth complexion, twinkling blue eyes and thick blond hair. [Express]

Tonight we learn that she’s definitely blonde and a lady. [Guardian]

Although some American and Canadian writers consider gender with blonde and blond, most use blond for all purposes—for example:

Their sister, Gutrune, with long blond hair, seductively lounges on a sofa, bored with their ruler-of-the-universe ways. [Los Angeles Times]

Now, Greenpeace is accusing the curvy blond doll of having a “nasty deforestation habit.”. [Globe and Mail]

32 thoughts on “Blond vs. blonde”

  1. English is unique among major european languages in that it lacks any grammatical gender distinction. Hungarian, Finnish and Basque do, too, but they’re not indoeuropean to begin with.
    with this unique position there’s been an ongoing tendency in English to discard the gender differences in the language. a current example is the phrase “she’s a good actor” which doesn’t sound wrong at all to most native speakers.
    in the case of blond(e), brunet(te), fiancé(e), etc. the tendency may even be stronger due to the fact that both genders have an identical pronunciation, and it even seems that the use of the ending “-ee” (employee, mentee, etc.) has gained general currency to refer to any gender, even though it originally was a feminine ending.

    • “she’s a good actor”, er yes it does sound awful. That is a PC phrase which is trying to say that women and men are equals and so why distinguish. Disgusting 1984 stuff which is literally destroying our society and our people. I guess it won’t matter soon because with most popular name being Mohammed already in the UK, the English language and People will become a thing of the past.

      • Wow, what a great example of hyperbole. Look at yourself. You’re saying that the phrase “she’s a good actor” is “literally destroying our society and our people.” Then you say something about the popularity of the name Mohammed. I have no clue what the popularity of the name Mohammed in the UK has to do with anything.

          • I’m afraid you’re the one without a clue. Mohammed being the most popular name in the UK would not in any way be an indication the English language will be a thing of the past; just an indication that certain groups within our country are more likely to adopt homogenous naming customs. Actually the most popular boy’s name was Oliver, Mohammed was 15th. The Daily Mail decided to include all variations of the name Mohammed and add them all together to make it seem like it came out on top, but then it didn’t do the same for any other name (E.g. if you add the Ollies and the Olivers, it easily makes it to the top again). Either way, all of those variations of Mohammed/Oliver each still only represent around 1% of baby names, so it hardly indicates a cultural domination of either Mohammads or Olivers, so you can rest easily! Also, almost all traditionally British names have foreign origins yet we seem to have survived.

          • “The Daily Mail decided to include all variations of the name Mohammed” Oh, that’s okay then. You f***** spastic. So long as our country is taken over by a hostile force with variations of the name reather than the name itself then I guess our daughters will be that little bit happier when they are gang raped to death. Go and hang yourself.

          • You think that all babies with variations of Mohammad will want to gang rape your daughters to death?! That people with differing opinions should hang themselves? That making fun cerebral palsy, the most common movement disorder in children, amounts to a witty insult?

            Well aren’t you an intelligent, well-balanced fellow!

            You really think the country being full of people like you would be some kind of grand utopia? It sounds like the true nightmare scenario! Do you actually manage to hold down a job?

            Or maybe I’ve got you wrong and you were talking about the 1% of babies who were called a variation of Oliver rather than the slightly smaller percentage who are called a variation of Mohammad?

          • “That people with differing opinions should hang themselves”

            No. Just you and your ilk who are flooding our nations with gang rapists. Please, go and hang yourself! Hopefully the right will rise soon and remove the burden from you.

          • Sorry for not being a Nazi! In my country we have this crazy system where you are judged by your actions and by standards of proof, not by what name you have – it’s called freedom under law and it’s about 800 years old. The last time you ‘rose’ you completely destroyed yourselves and half the continent. Go back to your demented reich of incompetent übermenschen.

          • It’s not every day that an anonymous Internet commenter reveals himself to be a cowardly, Islamophobic, anti-Semitic white supremacist who obviously has problems with women.

            But when it is, it’s hilarious.

  2. Both “blond” and “blonde” are loanwords from French, so dropping the “e” when used as an adjective for a female’s hair or as a noun for a woman with blonde hair is grammatically incorrect. Unlike the possibility that a reader may interpret “blonde” as sexist, that fact is not based on speculation or the assumption that one’s readers are ignorant. Even if a writer knows his or her readers are grammatically ignorant and hypersensitive, catering to them by using the incorrect loanword only perpetuates their ignorance and reflects poorly on the writer’s grasp of basic spelling and grammar.

    Dropping the “e” from “blonde” when used as a noun for either men or women is ridiculous. It makes the noun gender ambiguous. A reader cannot possibly infer whether or not the “blond” referenced in the sentence is male or female unless it is preceded by an adjective. “I find blondes attractive,” communicates the writer’s meaning clearly. As a reader, it is obvious he or she finds women with blonde hair attractive. “I find female blonds attractive,” communicates the same meaning, but not as succinctly or clearly. It also sounds odd when spoken. “I find blond women attractive,” communicates the writer’s meaning clearly, but requires using the word as an adjective and it is not as economical as the first example. There is not a single example where “blond” works best as a gender ambiguous noun which is why it is incorrect. The writer and editor responsible for the quote used from The Los Angeles Times both made a mistake or both of them are ignorant.

    The “minority of writers who continue to observe the gender distinction,” are the only ones using these loanwords correctly. Being in the minority does not mean one is wrong. In 2003 the overwhelming majority of Americans believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and a smaller majority believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the terrorist attacks against the USA on September 11, 2001. That the majority believed something that was untrue only proves their ignorance. It did not magically transform an incorrect belief into a fact.

    • Sean, you make a very intelligent and articulate argument. However, don’t you believe that changes in language and adaptations in usage don’t necessarily need to be absolutely right or wrong? Commenter xolang makes the alternative, but equally sound, argument for dropping the “e”. It would seem that if the historical differentiation between blond and blonde were such a great device of distinctive comprehension, it would be carried across much more of the English language. Why not “I love redheads” versus “I love reddheads?” Or redheades? I would add to xolang’s thesis by saying that there’s been an accelerating trend of shortening words in response to the development of space constrained mediums such as Twitter and advertising, as well as the wider acceptance of shorthand verse as our society’s methods of communication shifts from the long penned letters of Medieval times to the emails and text messages of today. The debate between carrying the legacy of a language versus the adaptation for contemporary use is a good one though. Cheers.

      • Enjoyed reading ur response n ur ability 2 disagree w/o being disagreeable (a skill viewed as archaic by most people of my generation and the ones that followed. A victim of my generation’s greatest achievement that also claimed proper spelling, grammar, and any real reverence 4 language). I will def follow up when I’m back on my MacBook. I fear my argument against justifying, accepting, and ultimately adopting shortened, incorrect spellings of words based on their widespread use in mediums such as these would appear hypocritical and easily dismissible were I utilizing them whilst typing with my thumbs on my iPhone! :) Sincerely appreciate n enjoy the discourse. – SH

        • First, I enjoyed your satirical response. Second, I can’t understand why words such as steward/stewardess, waiter/waitress, and actor/actress are insulting, inflammatory, or sexist. They convey an exact understanding of the person being referenced.

          Why must we use “flight attendant”, “server”, and “actor” for all people in those jobs? A steward/stewardess is someone who takes care of something. It doesn’t matter if that “something” is a passenger on an airplane, a passenger on a ship, or the Earth which we all inhabit (we should all be good stewards/stewardesses of the Earth). Being a steward or stewardess is a much more honored position than being an “attendant”. The word “attendant” makes me think of a gasoline station attendant. Which, in my mind, is lower on the totem pole than a steward or stewardess.

      • Most were illiterate in Medieval times.

        When use properly, language is highly expressive, even English (though less so than many others). The changes you argue in favor of make it less so.

        Even mistakes in common phrases buries the meaning.

        “I could care less” do not imply the same as “I couldn’t care less” to anyone with half a brain, yet I see the former used more often (written and spoken) instead of the latter.

        • I always laugh to myself when I hear someone say, “I could care less.” It implies that they care MORE about the subject than they could.

    • Sean, I was all with you on the use of blonde, but then you had to transform into a political douchebag. If we wanted political rhetoric (no matter how cheeky you think you are being), we would be hanging out in political forums instead of here.

    • Sean, I agree completely w/r/t language.

      But, FWIW, there were WMD in Iraq. They may have been old, and less useful than thought, but they were there.

      But WMD were only a small part of the violations of the 1991 cease fire agreement and UN resolutions.

      • No, there weren’t WMD in Iraq. There were remnants of weapons and equipment that had been destroyed by the Iraqis long before the invasion, proving that Saddam Hussein complied with our demands that he must destroy those weapons. The fact that some of our military came in contact with those previously-destroyed weapons and equipment does not prove that there were WMD when we started the war with Iraq. It only proves two things: 1) Saddam Hussein complied with our demands, and 2) that some of our military personnel were exposed to harmful chemicals by handling those items.

        • Not finding something, does not prove it is not there, or been used. EG. If you stabbed someone with a wooden knife, and burned the knife to ashes then spread them around the world, does that mean you are innocent as there is no murder weapon? WOW, I’ll start on my new business tonight. Anyone need to commit murder with no risk, send me a mail. (PS, if someone is stupid enough, I’ll post the request below.)

    • I was finding myself interested in your blond/blonde text… however, you digressed into BS.
      Nice, so the lack of evidence proves innocence? It merely does not prove guilt.

      Whereas I do find admitting to something, more proof. Quote> OSAMA BIN LADEN has for the first time admitted that his al-Qa’eda group carried out the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, the Telegraph can reveal.

      In a previously undisclosed video which has been circulating for 14 days among his supporters, he confesses that “history should be a witness that we are terrorists. Yes, we kill their innocents”.

      In the footage, shot in the Afghan mountains at the end of October, a smiling bin Laden goes on to say that the World Trade Centre’s twin towers were a “legitimate target” and the pilots who hijacked the planes were “blessed by Allah”.

  3. English is quite a peculiar language
    there are little to no two words with the same meaning in common vocabulary
    there are various words wrote/typed the same way with no related meaning
    there are a number of words sounding equally without a common meaning
    there are many words barely know for the people with common vocabulary
    there are considerable amount of meanings that needs more than 3 words
    there are an alarming number of meanings without their respective words
    care to explain that?

  4. I have a bit of a problem with how nearly every example of “blonde” included sexualisation. I’m sure you could have found some examples that didn’t portray women as the objects that the world treats them as.

    • Yes, I have noticed that the word HUNK, exploits the sexualisation of men, the poor things, being described like pieces of meat for women to masturbate to.

    • 1) Someone finding a particular physical trait attractive is not synonymous with sexualization.
      2) There was only one example of “blonde” in my post and two of “blond” that all made the same statement so readers could easily compare/contrast them and see why only using the gender ambiguous “blond” is not only grammatically incorrect, but makes expressing a simple thought or idea more difficult.
      3) I chose to make the subject female instead of male because the article’s author asserted that modern use of the feminine form of the word was archaic. I could not demonstrate why that is incorrect with a male subject since the masculine form of the word would be the sole form used in all three sentences.


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