I'm wondering why we call it "co-ed" hostel ! Co-ed is an acronym for co-education I guess. But what if it's just a hostel where working men and women live. Should we call it a dormitory ? I need a proper term to speak when I'm referring to a hostel where both men and women live.

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    A mixed dorm is one both for male and female. google.co.uk/…
    – user66974
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 6:19
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    I don’t see anything wrong with a co-ed hostel. I would leave dormitory for on-campus student housing.
    – Jim
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 6:21
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    @Scott- mixed dorm is used for short term stays in facilities unrelated to schools, as you can see from the attached link. Co-ed is generally used in schooling contexts.
    – user66974
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 6:26
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    A "hostel" by default is a mixed gender facility, so if you're looking for a single word, that's it. It would be more appropriate to specify an "men only hostel"(etc), as this is the unusual case.
    – Niall
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 8:04
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    Just call it a hostel. Without qualification, anyone can stay there. If it's important to point out that both men and women can stay there then say so explicitly - don't try to get it across with an adjective. If you have to just use an adjective then mixed is OK. But if you want to make clear that it is (only) for working men and women that say that explicitly.
    – Drew
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


Taking cues from language about restrooms, and to be more welcoming of various gender identities,

all gender dorms / all gender hostel.

You could also use unisex, though I very rarely ever hear the word used in any context. (According to Google Ngrams, unisex usage has been on the decline since 1996, though Google Trends shows a slight increase since 2004.

I would be interested to hear an answer to your secondary question; that is, the history of co-ed's being used for non-educational situations.

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    I have little doubt that "all gender" is the politically correct term, but I am from a generation when there used to be only two genders, so this sounds weird. In the US it must sound perfectly normal.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 6:49
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    Must sound normal? No, it sounds contrived and forced to me in the US.
    – The Nate
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 8:03
  • @TheNate Duly noted. Curious, though, where in the US you live. In Seattle and Philadelphia I think it would be totally normal. Or maybe it's an age thing?
    – Unrelated
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 14:36
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    I'll give you this much: Middle aged in a city that is not a megalopolis.
    – The Nate
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 5:08
  • If the criterion is working men and women it says nothing about gender, in the sense of self-identification. And saying all-gender does not at all express the criterion that it is for working men and women - neither wrt age (adults) nor wrt working. All-gender applies equally to 12-year olds.
    – Drew
    Commented Nov 25, 2017 at 15:51

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