What Comes to Your Mind When I Say ‘Feminine’?

Even has got its synonyms wrong!

2 min read

Video Editor: Kunal Mehra, Ashish MacCune

Was your best buddy growing up? Did you turn to this trusted companion everytime you had to write an essay?

Wasn’t it your wingman when you had to impress someone with your impeccable vocabulary? Or a back-up plan when you couldn’t think of that one word that described your situation perfectly?

But but but... like all your other best friends, isn’t perfect.


BBC recently published a report saying that a woman was so disappointed with’s ‘comical’ synonyms for the word ‘feminine’ that she has lodged a written complaint.

Kaya Day said that she wanted, and language in general, to catch up with the changing social consciousness about gender around the world. conceded to the criticism and said that it will review its entries for the word.

We, however, were curious to find out what people think about the meaning of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’?

What we also wanted to know whether people agree with the synonyms listed on for the word ‘feminine’ – such as soft, maternal, and fertile – and ‘masculine’ — such as strong, macho, adult, and caveman.


We found out that the binary of ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ is problematic, as the traits associated with these words are never mutually exclusive.

Some of the synonyms listed under each of these words have negative connotations.

While synonyms for ‘feminine’ like ‘soft’, ‘meek’, ‘weak’, and ‘gullible’ are unacceptable, some think ‘dainty’ and ‘graceful’ do not have negative connotations.

Also, being masculine doesn’t simply mean being ‘strong’, ‘macho’, or ‘powerful’.


Dear, it’s 2018! About time you up your game and become more aware and inclusive with your synonyms.

What comes to your mind when you hear the words ‘feminine’ and masculine? Let us know in the comments below.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Feminism   Misogyny   Dictionary 

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