Wordwatch Towers

A plain language guide to punctuation, grammar and writing well.

Misogynists and misterogynists?

with 2 comments

Greek roots for the word Marry
Image via Wikipedia

I recently overheard the following exchange between two women on a train:

What’s the opposite of a misogynist?

 A misterogynist.

Laser-like wit notwithstanding, the woman who came up with this brilliant off-the-cuff neologism then said (after much giggling) that she didn’t think a word that means the opposite of misogynist exists. Neither did I — which shows how much I know.

A misogynist is, of course, a man who hates women. See Oxford Dictionaries for the definition and visit Merriam-Website Online to hear it pronounced (in a US accent).

A little research revealed that the opposite of a misogynist is, in fact, a ‘misandrist’ — meaning someone who hates men. See Oxford Dictionaries. Unfortunately, it’s not listed on the free Merriam-Webster site.

Interestingly, however, it appears that while a misogynist is a man who hates women, a misandrist can be a male or a female who hates men.

My Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) tells me that the word ‘misogyny’ is based on Greek from ‘misos’ meaning ‘hatred’ and ‘gunē’ meaning ‘woman’. The word originated in the seventeenth century.

Similarly, ‘misandry’ (from which ‘misandrist’ is derived) is from the Greek word ‘miso’ meaning ‘hating’ and ‘anēr’ or ‘andr’ meaning ‘man’. The word originated in the 1940s and is based on the formation of the word ‘misogyny’.

Misanthropy and Misogamy

Just out of interest — ‘misanthropy’ means a ‘dislike of humankind‘ and ‘misogamy’ means ‘hatred of marriage’. So, you can be a misanthrope and misogamist, as well as a misogynist and misandrist.

More neologisms (new words and phrases)


2 Responses

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  1. Good luck at me remembering “misandrist.” Will try though!


    07/06/2010 at 7:21 pm

    • Hi, Lisa — yes, I think ‘misterogynist’ is far more memorable! Thanks for stopping by.


      07/06/2010 at 7:32 pm

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