Granted that English has few such words, blond/blonde and fiancé/fiancée are the only ones that immediately come to mind. Apart from calling them "words with gender-specific forms", the closest I've come up with is epicenitic, which isn't even a real form of the word, or possibly androgynous. And either of these seem to convey something that's the opposite of what I'm looking for.

  • 5
    English has plenty of "gendered" words (policeman, chairwoman, barmaid, schoolboy). But I hesitate to post "gendered" as an answer, since "gendered language" also means "reflecting the experience, prejudices, or orientations of one sex more than the other" (M-W)
    – Juhasz
    Aug 21, 2019 at 23:12
  • 'Gender-differentiated' words. See Quizlet.com
    – Nigel J
    Aug 22, 2019 at 6:31
  • @NigelJ, it's as close as anything I've been able to come up with. In my mind, I'm looking for a single word that ends in -nym, -ic or -ical like "demonym" or "radical". Or a non-English word that has no English equivalent owning to the disuse of the practice in English. Aug 22, 2019 at 13:12
  • 1
    Yes; your suggestions don't fit. 'Lacuna' means 'a lexical gap; the lack of a potentially useful word in a language, where one might be expected to exist (there might be an equivalent in say Polish)'. //// The blond/blonde distinction is probably being lost, especially with the adjective and especially in the US. Aug 27, 2019 at 18:55
  • 5
    Certainly not androgynous; that means gender-ambiguous, the opposite of what these words are. Aug 27, 2019 at 19:03

3 Answers 3


They're sometimes called gender-marked words (or expressions):

In the English language, there are approximately 385 male gender-marked words and only 132 female gender-marked words. [...] A frequently noted example is the difference in connotation between the phrases bull session, which is male-marked, and hen party, which is female-marked.

The Interpretation of Generic Language as Male or Male/Female by Nine and Ten Year Old Children


Such words are often called gendered, defined by Dictionary.com as:

characteristic of, suited to, or biased toward one gender

One should note that this meaning is not related to grammatical gender.


You could also say "have grammatical gender"

  • That isn't what grammatical gender is. Nouns in English don't have grammatical gender.
    – Divizna
    Dec 22, 2022 at 1:41
  • 2
    Yeah, it's not grammatical gender. An example of grammatical gender would be "se wifmann", since it takes the masculine determiner "se". That's Old English for "the woman"; Modern English doesn't have grammatical gender.
    – Laurel
    Dec 22, 2022 at 1:43

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