I recently came across the word "androgenization" which I have found to mean "possess male hormones". I found this rather strange, because to be androgynous is to have neither/both male and female characteristics. These words are so similar, yet their definitions are far apart. Why? Is there a word that means "possess female hormones"?


  • 4
    Because gen is “make” but gyn is “girl”. This is General Reference.
    – tchrist
    Oct 18, 2014 at 21:33
  • As waywardeev says, Malapropism of greek words. Oct 19, 2014 at 5:28

1 Answer 1


Androgynous comes from greek. andros is the genitive of the Greek word for man and gyne is woman. Put together you get 'Androgynous', having qualities of both man and woman.

I've never heard 'androgenization' before, in fact Microsoft Word doesn't even recognize it, so I suppose it's a neologism. It's etymology seems pretty straightforward: andros again comes from the Greek for 'man,' 'genization' comes from genesis, Greek for origin.

They seem very similar because they share andros and 'gen' and 'gyn' sound alike.

  • 2
    The gen- root comes from the same source as genetic: the Proto-Indo-European root *ɡen- 'give birth to; be born; offspring'. The gyn- root, on the other hand, comes from the PIE root *ɡʷen- 'woman'. Andros comes from the PIE root *ner- '(masculine) man'. Oct 18, 2014 at 22:45

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