Deciding when to use blond vs. blonde gets tricky. We clarify the difference so you can describe men, women, and their hair correctly.
This guide has everything you need to know about the difference between blond and blonde.
- Males are blonds with blond hair.
- Females are blondes with blonde hair.Blond and blonde can be used as adjectives or nouns.
- The words blond and blonde refer to fair hair.
- The difference between the two comes from French
- Blond is the gender-neutral term.
- Caffeinated drinks like coffee are blonde, not blond.
- Adding the letter ‘s’ at the end of the word typically creates a plural version of blond/blonde.
People say blondes have more fun… but do they mean blonds? Describing hair can get tricky, so let’s settle the blond vs. blonde debate once and for all.
What’s the Difference Between Blonde and Blond?
Determining the difference between blond and blonde can confuse anyone unfamiliar with giving words genders. Men are blond, and women are blonde. This is true whether you use the words as nouns or adjectives.
Someone who identifies as neither male nor female is a blond with blond hair. You can also use the word blond if you’re unsure of someone’s gender.
Aside from gender, there is no difference between blond and blonde. Both words describe someone with light hair. The individual may also have a fair complexion and light eyes.
Things get a bit trickier when describing objects.
American English speakers typically do not assign feminine or masculine genders to anything except humans.
However, some light-colored beverages, desserts, and building materials have different spellings.
This often stems from personal preferences, not grammar rules.
A café owner may sell blonde cappuccinos, but that doesn’t mean the drink is feminine. Likewise, a chair constructed from blond wood is not a masculine object.
Some gender-specific French words find a home in American English dictionaries. Over time, words often evolve and become interchangeable, even when it’s not grammatically correct.
That’s why there are jokes about dumb blondes and dumb blonds.
Why is Blond Spelled Two Different Ways?
When referencing light-colored hair, many people wonder: Is it blond or blonde? Both blonde and blond are correct. The difference has roots in the French language and have to do with gender. “Blonde” is the feminine version. Women are blonde. Meanwhile, “blond” is the masculine version. Men are blond. The gender neutral version is “blond“.
Self-declared referees for the blond vs. blonde debate agree on the following:
1. Feminine Terms
Women have blonde hair. A woman with light-colored hair is a blonde.
2. Masculine Terms
Men have blond hair. A man with light-colored hair is a blond.
3. Gender-Neutral Terms
Someone with an undetermined gender is a blond person with blond hair.
These rules apply regardless of whether someone has naturally light locks or bleaches their hair. You should also remember these rules when describing someone with highlights.
How do you Describe Light-Colored Coffee?
When discussing coffee, use “blonde,” not “blond.” This adjective often refers more to the flavor than the appearance of the coffee. A blonde roast is light, smooth, and flavorful. But it may have the same hue as a medium roast.
You can order a blonde roast, espresso, or latte. You cannot order a blond coffee.
Coffee is always classified as blonde, not blond.
What About Other Inanimate Objects?
Blonde is the preferred spelling for caffeinated beverages, and you may also notice blonde cupcakes or sheet cakes. Beer drinkers enjoy blonde ales.
Light-colored wood is blond, not blonde. You can purchase blond birch or other types of wood with blond grains.
What Is the Plural Form of Blond?
Blond and blonde typically take an ‘s’ when becoming plural. An apostrophe is not necessary unless you are conveying ownership.
An ‘s’ isn’t necessary when describing a group of similar men or women.
Use an apostrophe when showing that a blond man or blonde woman owns something. Place the apostrophe before an ‘s’ unless you are referencing multiple people.
Tress Stress: Other Hair-Related Grammar Rules
Deciding between blond vs. blonde isn’t the only dilemma you may face when describing hair. Here are some other confusing words:
1. Gray vs. Grey
The rules for gray hair are less complicated than blond hair. When using American English, the term gray always describes hair. You can also say someone has gray eyes.
Grey is the correct spelling for writers who use British English.
2. Hair vs. Hairs
Hair and hairs are both plural terms, but hair is also singular. Are you confused yet?
You have a head of hair, but you can pluck out a strand of gray hair. If you remove several strands, you will end up with a collection of gray hairs.
Her entire head of hair is red except for the three gray strands she found.
Do not add an ‘s’ to hair when describing a full head of hair rather than a few strands.
3. Brunet vs. Brunette
Like blond/blonde, brunet and brunette are also French terms. A brown-haired man is a brunet, and a brown-haired woman is a brunette. However, brunet isn’t commonly used in American English, so you can get away with using brunette for either gender.
Brunette is typically a noun, not an adjective.
The word is used as a noun in the sentence above.
In American English, the term brunette usually isn’t used as an adjective. It makes more sense to say someone has brown hair instead.
With Knowledge Comes EnLIGHTenment
Now that you know the difference between blond and blonde, the next time you read a joke that starts with “three blonds walk into a bar,” you’ll have a new perspective to consider.