Grammar 6 min read

Blond vs. Blonde: Untangle the Difference

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.

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Main Takeaways:

  • 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.

A man has blond hair, and a woman has blonde hair.

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.

Blond and blonde are French words that became standard English terms in the 17th century. The French often assign different spellings to feminine and masculine words. That’s why there are two different terms for people with fair-colored hair.
Blond is derived from the French word blont which means fair or pale yellow.
Some said “blond” was derived from the old French word “blont,” while others said it’s from the old Latin word “blundus.” Both foreign words mean pale yellow.

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.

I ordered a blonde espresso at the café.

You can order a blonde roast, espresso, or latte. You cannot order a blond coffee.

I requested a blond cup of java from the barista.

Coffee is always classified as blonde, not blond.

You order blonde coffee, not a blond cup of coffee.
Blonde roast coffee, anyone?

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.

Blondes have more fun.
Blonde‘s have more fun.

An ‘s’ isn’t necessary when describing a group of similar men or women.

A trio of blonde women auditioned for the cheer squad.
Look at those blonds hunks on the swim team.

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.

Check out that blonde‘s purse.
I love that blondes shoes.
Blond is to a man, while blonde is to a woman. As much as possible, avoid using these two as stand-alone nouns since some people find these terms, particularly
Blond is to a man, while blonde is to a woman. As much as possible, avoid using these two as stand-alone nouns since some people find these terms, particularly “blonde,” sexist.

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.

She has naturally red hair, but she discovered three gray hairs last night.

Her entire head of hair is red except for the three gray strands she found.

She brushed her hairs.

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.

She is a brunette.

The word is used as a noun in the sentence above.

She has lovely brunette hair.

In American English, the term brunette usually isn’t used as an adjective. It makes more sense to say someone has brown hair instead.

Remember: Blond is masculine, while blonde is feminine.
Remember: Blond is masculine, while blonde is feminine.

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.

Read More: Affect vs. Effect

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Krista Grace Morris

Krista heads up Marketing and Content Creation here at INK. From Linguistics and History to puns and memes, she's interested in the systems we create to share our ideas with each other.

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