is "dirty blonde" depreciative?

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Sun Mar 25 13:02:34 UTC 2012

I would take it as pejorative only in the esthetic sense of a color that
falls within the range of "blonde", but is less attractive than "golden
blonde".  Not a reflexion on the character or personality of the woman
(usually, I suppose) under the hair.


On Sat, Mar 24, 2012 at 8:12 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg <
nunberg at> wrote:

> From the OED:
> dirty blonde adj. and n. orig. U.S. (mildly depreciative)  (a) adj.(of the
> hair) dark blonde; blonde tinged with a darker colour;  (b) n.a person with
> hair of this colour.
> When I was growing up, the term referred simply to a hair color, with no
> implication of disapproval.
> Geoff
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much since then.

The American Dialect Society -

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