male pattern baldness

Gregory {Greg} Downing gd2 at IS2.NYU.EDU
Fri Nov 12 22:05:58 UTC 1999

At 01:54 PM 11/12/99, "Peter A. McGraw" <pmcgraw at LINFIELD.EDU> wrote:
>The first time I heard the term "male pattern baldness," it was to
>distinguish it from another pattern of balding.  Male pattern baldness is
>when the hair loss starts at the crown of the head and spreads outward,
>leaving a surrounding band of hair of varying widths.  The other kind (and
>I forget what it's called) is when the hair receeds on either side of the
>forehead, leaving a "peninsula" of hair in the center.

I can't recall seeing this other phenomenon, or the non-MPB term that would
describe it. But I hear and read "bald" and "MPB" all the time. Does anyone
have a reference?

Since people are interseted in this, OED2 has the following under "pattern"
(noun), at the end of the entry where the compounds are listed:

"pattern baldness, baldness in which there is a gradual loss of hair in
accordance with a characteristic pattern, as in the receding hair-line that
commonly occurs in men as they grow older"


1916 Jrnl. Heredity VII. 349/2 Congenital baldness must not be confused with
*pattern baldness.
1956 C. Auerbach Genetics in Atomic Age 16 The so-called pattern-baldness of
men is due to a mutated gene which acts most effectively on the background
of a male constitution.
1974 Jrnl. Clin. Endocrinol. & Metabolism XXXIX. 1012/1 Androgens may
paradoxically cause male pattern baldness in individuals with a genetic

>I never thought of
>"MPB" as a euphemism--just a descriptive term for one of two common kinds
>of balding.  I must say it doesn't seem a very logical term, since it
>doesn't contrast with a *female pattern baldness, but rather with a
>different kind of male pattern.

If it happened to be a particular pattern of hair loss that tends to be seen
in men more than in women, without contrasting with any other pattern of
baldness in men, the term would make fairly good sense.

Best, Greg D.

Greg Downing/NYU, at greg.downing at or gd2 at

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