Printable Version
Pronunciation: mis-ah-jê-ni Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: Hatred of women.

Notes: Today's word (I hesitate to call it a Good one) forms a semantic pair with misandry "hatred of men". For those who hate both sexes, English provides us with misanthropy to refer to a hatred of all mankind. Be careful not to confuse misanthropy with misandry. A misogynous person infected with misogyny is a misogynist.

In Play: Today's word is very topical given the Democratic candidates in the current US presidential race: "Hillary Clinton's candidacy in the presidential elections may test the misogyny in US society." Senator Clinton's popularity suggests that misogyny has abated in the new millennium, but it still rears its ugly head now and again: "I think it is less Seymour's shyness than his misogyny that keeps him a prisoner of bachelorhood."

Word History: Today's word was borrowed from Greek misogynia based on misos "hatred" + gyne "woman". Gyne also appears in gynecology and is related to Old English cwene which at various points in its career meant "woman", "wife", and "prostitute"—today's quean. It also shares a source with Old English cween "woman, wife, queen", today's queen. The Greek root is also related to the root gen- "give birth", which we find in generate, gene and oxygen. In Gaelic, for some reason, this root became bean [bayn] in the phrase bean sídhe "woman of the fairies", a phrase that English converted into a single word, banshee. (We love Jackie Strauss and Bob Scala and feel nary a drop of misogyny or misandry toward them for suggesting today's Good Word.)

Dr. Goodword,

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