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The 24 Words That Are Most Known To Only Men Or Women

(Photo: Smart Sign)

Mark Brysbaert of the Center for Reading Research conducted a study of the English words most commonly understood specifically be either men or women. Here are the words that men know well that women don't:

  • codec (88, 48)
  • solenoid (87, 54)
  • golem (89, 56)
  • mach (93, 63)
  • humvee (88, 58)
  • claymore (87, 58)
  • scimitar (86, 58)
  • kevlar (93, 65)
  • paladin (93, 66)
  • bolshevism (85, 60)
  • biped (86, 61)
  • dreadnought (90, 66)

And here are the words that women recognize, but men generally don't:

  • taffeta (48, 87)
  • tresses (61, 93)
  • bottlebrush (58, 89)
  • flouncy (55, 86)
  • mascarpone (60, 90)
  • decoupage (56, 86)
  • progesterone (63, 92)
  • wisteria (61, 89)
  • taupe (66, 93)
  • flouncing (67, 94)
  • peony (70, 96)
  • bodice (71, 96)

The assessment examined 500,000 people using a computer-based vocabulary test:

In the online test, 100 letter sequences — which may or may not be real English words —  flash across the taker's screen. Pressing the "f" or "j" keys, respectively, will indicate whether the participant knows, but not necessarily understands, a specific word. The test strongly penalizing for marking you know a word that doesn't exist. 

I'm a bit skeptical. How could any reasonably functional adult not know what a claymore is? Don't tell me that it's not taught in even the most dysfunctional schools.

-via Joe Carter

Note: Don't forget to check out Twaggie's new (and very funny) video: Just Kid-ing

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Newest 5 Comments

I know most of the female words from romance novels. And... until I read this comment, I assumed I knew what a bottlebrush was, the thing that cleans baby bottles. lol They are called bottle brushes. I looked it up and bottlebrush is very pretty! Thank you for posting this!
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"indicate whether the participant knows, but not necessarily understands, a specific word"
knew the existence of all words, on both lists... unclear on meaning of only dreadnought. have a clear understanding of the rest. (i am a lady)
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Very interesting. I knew with certainty all the "man" words (I'm a man), but struggled (or hand no clue) with almost all of the "woman" words, which surprised me. Can I hear from the ladies? Do you know with certainty what all "your" words mean? Thanks.
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