The Grammarphobia Blog

What do you call a man-hater?

Q: I’ve been wondering if there’s a female version of “misogyny” that would indicate a woman’s hatred of men. Can you help me?

A: The parallel term for “misogyny” (hatred of women) is “misandry” (hatred of men). They’re pronounced mis-AHJ-uh-nee and mis-AN-dree.

The Greek roots of these words are misos (hatred), gyne (woman), and andros (man).

“Misogyny,” which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “hatred or dislike of, or prejudice against women,” was first recorded in English in 1656.

“Misogynist” came along in 1620 and “misogynistic” in 1821.

“Misandry,” defined as “the hatred of males; hatred of men as a sex,” was first recorded in 1898.

The OED says it was formed “after misogyny,” which we assume means it was developed specifically to be the feminine counterpart.

(We’ll resist the temptation to call these “companion words,” since they’d make such uncomfortable companions!)

“Misandrist” was a latecomer and didn’t appear in print until 1952; Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.) labels it as both noun and adjective.

We’d hate to conclude the subject of hating one sex or the other without mentioning “misanthrope,” the word for an equal-opportunity hater.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (4th ed.) defines “misanthrope” as “one who hates or distrusts humankind.”

It first showed up in English in 1683, according to OED citations. We borrowed it from the French misanthrope, perhaps because of familiarity with the Molière comedy of manners Le Misanthrope (1666).

In Plutarch’s Lives, the term was used to describe Timon, an Athenian with a reputation for misanthropy, and an inspiration for Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens.

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