Do “Blond” And “Blonde” Mean The Same Thing?

How would you describe someone’s hair when it is light in color? Would you say it is “blond,” or would you say it is “blonde?” In truth, both words mean the same thing, but why do we have them? 

Where Did “Blond” And “Blonde” Originate?

Interestingly enough, until the turn of the 13th century, English had masculine and feminine words, similar to other languages such as Italian and German. Although most of the gendered terms were made universal, a few stuck around. This is exactly the case with “blond” and “blonde.” 

Just like other languages, these old English words tend to add an “-e” at the end of words when a woman is being described. For instance, a man with light yellow hair would be described as “blond,” and a woman would be “blonde.” 

How To Use “Blond” And “Blonde” In Your Writing

Luckily, a few usage guides have distinct recommendations when it comes to using these two worlds in a modern context. Generally, many American guides will recommend using “blond,” whereas most British guides recommend using “blonde.” 

Some stylebooks even go as far as to say that “blonde” should only be used as a noun for females, and “blond” should be used for everything else. It seems that most people aren’t too picky about these words and will understand you the same with either. 

In our modern day and age, it is also important to know the gender implications of these words. For instance, using “blonde” in feminine stereotypes can be sexist. Due to this, it is probably best to stick to “blond” in your more formal and academic writing. 

In comparison to “blond” and “blonde,” we also have similar old-fashioned words about hair, such as “brunette.” In contrast to “blond/blonde,” brunette” can act as feminine and masculine adjectives or nouns. 

Examples From Reputable Sources

In 1931, Shirley was enrolled in a dance school in Los Angeles, where she was spotted by a studio agent. With her blonde hair styled in ringlets in imitation of the silent film star Mary Pickford, she was signed by Educational Pictures to appear in a series of one-reelers called Baby Burlesks, imitating films by Marlene Dietrich and other stars. – The Guardian

In Colorado, a cheery hippy family is shown living in a school bus, while the show’s emblematic image is of an Arizona hitchhiker with patched jeans and long blond hair perpetually waiting for his ride to come.Even if pollution is not central to all the photographs here, it lurks on the edges. – The Economist

 

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