Study: The Words Only Men (or Only Women) Know

June 23, 2014 - 4:16 PM

It turns out there are some words your chance of knowing depends heavily on whether you are male or female (cue, outrage.)

Words that men are more likely to know are science, transportation or weapons-based - whereas women are more likely to know words about flowers and fashion.

Analysis done by the Center for Reading Research of Ghent University shows that these are the 12 words men are significantly more likely to know (percentages show recognition among men, then women), ranked by the difference between the two genders:

  1. codec (88, 48) +40
  2. solenoid (87, 54) +33
  3. golem (89, 56) +33
  4. mach (93, 63) +30
  5. humvee (88, 58) +30
  6. claymore (87, 58) +29
  7. scimitar (86, 58) +28
  8. kevlar (93, 65) +28
  9. paladin (93, 66) +27
  10. bolshevism (85, 60) +25
  11. biped (86, 61) +25
  12. dreadnought (90, 66) +24

These are the 12 words women are much more likely to know than men (percentages of men, then women), ranked from greatest to least difference between genders:

  1. taffeta (48, 87) +39
  2. tresses (61, 93) +32
  3. bottlebrush (58, 89) +31
  4. flouncy (55, 86) +31
  5. mascarpone (60, 90) +30
  6. decoupage (56, 86) +30
  7. progesterone (63, 92) +29
  8. wisteria (61, 89) +28
  9. taupe (66, 93) +27
  10. flouncing (67, 94) +27
  11. peony (70, 96) +26
  12. bodice (71, 96) +25

Their analysis was based on statistically significant differences in word recognition in over 500,000 users who participated in their online vocabulary test, which you are also invited to take.