English: Blonde vs Blond

By Xah Lee. Date:

Did you know that “blonde” is female, and “blond” is male?

Similarly, “brunette” is for women, “brunet” for men.

Here's excerpt from Wikipedia blonde:

The word blond is first attested in English in 1481 and derives from Old French blund, blont meaning “a colour midway between golden and light chestnut”. It gradually eclipses the native term fair, of same meaning, from Old English fæġer, to become the general term for “light complexioned”. The French (and thus also the English) word blond has two possible origins. Some linguists say it comes from Medieval Latin blundus, meaning yellow, from Old Frankish *blund which would relate it to Old English blonden-feax meaning grey-haired, from blondan/blandan meaning to mix (Cf. blend). Also, Old English beblonden meant dyed as ancient Germanic warriors were noted for dying their hair.

However, other linguists who favor a Latin origin for the word say that Medieval Latin blundus was a vulgar pronunciation of Latin flavus, also meaning yellow. Most authorities, especially French, attest the Frankish origin. The word was reintroduced into English in the 17th century from French, and was for some time considered French; in French, “blonde” is a feminine adjective; it describes a woman with blond hair.

“Blond” and “blonde”, with its continued gender-varied usage, is one of few adjectives in written English to retain separate masculine and feminine grammatical genders.

Here's excerpts from Wikipedia brunette:

Brunette literally means “little brown-haired girl” or “young brown-haired woman”, but in modern English usage it has lost the diminutive meaning and refers simply to any brown-haired girl or woman, or the associated hair color. Although brunet is the masculine version of the popular diminutive form, used to describe a little boy or young man with brown hair, the use of brunet is uncommon in English. One is more likely to say, of a man or boy, “He has brown hair” or “He is brown-haired”, than to say, “He is a brunette”, (or brunet). The term brunette is the feminine form of the French word brunet which is a diminutive form of brun meaning “brown/brown-haired”, the feminine of which is brune. All of these terms ultimately derive from the Germanic *brūnaz “brown”, from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhrūn- “brown, grey”. The form “brun” (pronounced broon) is still commonly used in Scotland, particularly in rural areas.

wordy english