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What word would be used on a form where one is asked to stipulate if a school accepts only boys, girls or is co-ed?

We are creating the form, and the word I am looking for would be used for a drop down that has the three options "boys only", "girls only", "co-ed".

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Single-sex, probably, but it's not clear from your question whether you writing the form itself or filling it in. That may make a difference. – Andrew Leach Oct 19 '12 at 11:16
Too bad student sexual orientation is already taken. – tchrist Oct 19 '12 at 13:04
I don't have a good answer, but when faced with this problem in general -- creating a multiple-choice question on a form where I can't think of an appropriate label -- I often just don't put any label, just give the options. – Jay Oct 19 '12 at 13:46
I don't think "hypernym" is the right word here; a hypernym of "boys only", "girls only", and "co-ed" would be an adjective that described any school that is any of those things. That is, it could fit into the sentence, "All boys-only schools, all girls-only schools, and all co-ed schools are _____ schools." – ruakh Oct 19 '12 at 18:50
+1 @ruakh - So a better term than "hypernym" might be "category", "heading", "tag" or "label" (espec. given that the context is an e-form)? – Martin F Jan 17 '14 at 0:17

10 Answers 10

up vote 13 down vote accepted

Co-education (and co-ed) is the term used to highlight a system which is now considered the norm for education. Since this is a questionnaire, you have the option of using one-word questions.


  • Yes
  • No — boys only
  • No — girls only
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You could use one of the following phrases

  • Enrollment Gender
  • Student Gender
  • Student Body Gender
  • Student Gender(s)
  • Student Body Gender(s)
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How about "School demographic" or "Gender demographic"?

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I can't think of a term like that, if one exists, but you could use something like "Student Body" or "Student Population" or maybe "School Classification".

If you want to sound more formal, I think the commonly accepted terms for the three classifications are "All-boys", "All-girls", and "Co-educational".

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I would suggest the use of the word environment. If it is too broad, you could narrow it down further to something along the lines of school environment, educational environment, and so on.

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"Enrollment Population" is brief and avoids both the dicey "sex" and the incorrect "gender".

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Why is "gender" incorrect? Alone, it's a little puzzling, but others have suggested companion words. – Martin F Jan 17 '14 at 0:30
I've learned that 'gender' is strictly a linguistic term, describing the gender of nouns, adjectives, etc., and that 'sex' is correct for humans and other living creatures. – Chris Schiffhauer Jan 17 '14 at 3:21

Maybe you could use gender restriction.

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"Gender allowed"? (accepted? permitted?)

It's not very smooth but I can't think of anything better.

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One possibility is "Gender of intake" — bit wordy though, I confess.

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Sorry to add to the "gender" terms, all of which I consider "warm," but the term I would use is gender specific. That is, the school specifics its gender "preference," (or lack thereof in the case of co-ed).

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protected by RegDwigнt Oct 19 '12 at 18:38

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