Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Paladin Bolshevism

A university in Belgium has conducted a survey of which genders are more likely to recognize certain words. Your standard disclaimers apply: I don’t know how scientific this is, and it only presents gender as a binary, and I’m pretty sure half of these things aren’t even words. But let’s go.

Words that men are most likely to recognize over women:

  • 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)

As one of the commenters on the Marginal Revolution post noted, golem, claymore, scimitar, paladin, and dreadnought are all things that many people learn from Dungeons and Dragons or their progeny (RPG video games, other tabletop games, etc.). I learned what a paladin was from playing Final Fantasy 4, for example. I learned what a scimitar was from playing an ooooold PC game called The Summoning. Then there are things like humvee and kevlar which are in every Call of Battlefield Honor Special Forces Operations Duty game ever, so we all know that one.

The fact that so many more men know these words than women should tell you we’re not encouraging our daughters to get involved with geeky stuff as kids.

Here are the words women are most likely to recognize over men:

  • 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 only one I know is bodice, from the genre of romance novel where said items are sundered. I’m going to blame that one on Felicia Day’s book club. Actually, I sort of know what flouncing/flouncy is, I think. I know what they sound like they means, at least. Oh, and peonies are flowers, right? Also, I think taupe is a color, but I couldn’t pick it out of a Crayola box.

If you’re a solenoid-loving lady or a bottlebrush-loving fellow, take the survey to skew the results in favor of your gender. Don’t let those Belgians lie to us. Tangentially related: is this a tennis player or a cheese?