AskDefine | Define blonds

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  1. Plural of blond

Extensive Definition

Blond (also spelled blonde, see below) is a hair color found in certain people characterized by low levels of the dark pigment eumelanin. The resultant visible hue depends on various factors, but always has some sort of yellowish color, going from the very pale blond caused by a patchy, scarce distribution of pigment, to reddish "strawberry" blond colors or golden brownish blond colors, the latter with more eumelanin.

Etymology, spelling, and grammar

The word blonde was first attested in English in 1481 and derives from Old French blont and meant "a colour midway between golden and light chestnut". It largely replaced the native term fair, from Old English fæger. The French (and thus also the English) word blond has two possible origins. Some linguists say it comes from Middle Latin blundus, meaning yellow, from Old Frankish *blund which would relate it to Old English blonden-feax meaning grey-haired, from blondan/blandan meaning to mix. Also, Old English beblonden meant dyed as ancient Germanic warriors were noted for dyeing their hair. However, other linguists who desire a Latin origin for the word say that Middle Latin blundus was a vulgar pronunciation of Latin flavus, also meaning yellow. Most authorities, especially French, attest the Frankish origin. The word was reintroduced into English in the 17th century from French, and was for some time considered French, hence blonde for females/noun and blond for males/adjective.
Writers of English often will still distinguish between the masculine blond and the feminine blonde and, as such, it is one of the few adjectives in English with separate masculine and feminine forms. However, many writers use only one of the spellings without regard to gender, and without a clear majority usage one way or another. The word is also often used as a noun to refer to a woman with blond hair, but some speakers see this usage as sexist. In certain European populations, however, the occurrence of blond hair is very frequent, and often remains throughout adulthood. The hair color gene MC1R has at least seven variants in Europe and the continent has an unusually wide range of hair and eye shades. Based on recent genetic information carried out at three Japanese universities, the date of the genetic mutation that resulted in blond hair in Europe has been isolated to about 11,000 years ago during the last Ice Age. Before then, Europeans mostly had darker hair and eyes, which is predominant in the rest of the world. According to the study, the appearance of blond hair and blue eyes in some northern European women made them stand out from their rivals at a time of fierce competition for scarce males. The study argues that blond hair was produced higher in the Cro-Magnon descended population of the European region because of food shortages 10,000-11,000 years ago following the last glacial period when the most of it was covered by steppe-tundra. Almost the only sustenance in northern Europe came from roaming herds of mammoths, reindeer, bison and horses and finding them required long, arduous hunting trips in which numerous males died, leading to a high ratio of surviving women to men. This hypothesis argues that women with blond hair posed an alternative that helped them mate and thus increased the number of blonds.
According to the authors of The History and Geography of Human Genes (1994), blond hair became predominant in Europe in about 3000 BC, in the area now known as Lithuania, among the recently arrived Proto-Indo-European settlers though the trait spread quickly through sexual selection into Scandinavia when that area was settled because men found women with blond hair attractive.
In 2002 there was a worldwide hoax that scientists predicted blonds were eventually going to become extinct. The hoax cited WHO as the source of the scientific study. See recessive alleles for more information on the genetic basis of blond hair.

General behavior of light colored dogs

In a study by Spanish researcher Pérez-Guisado golden/yellow dogs exhibited the most aggressive and dominant behavior together with red dogs, second most aggressive was black dogs and the most mild-mannered was brown and semi-colored dogs. It's still uncertain if humans have this correlation as well.

Geographic distribution

Blonde hair is at the highest frequency among the indigenous peoples of Northern Europe. Blonde and light hair are in the majority in countries like Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Holland, Poland, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and England. Generally, blond hair in Europeans is associated with paler eye color (gray, blue, green and light brown) and pale (sometimes freckled) skin tone. Strong sunlight also lightens hair of any pigmentation, to varying degrees, and causes many blond people to freckle, especially during childhood.
In Norse mythology, both the goddess Sif (wife of Thor) and the major goddess Freyja are described as blonde. In the eddic poem Rígsthula, the blond man Jarl was considered to be the ancestor to the dominant warrior class.
In Northern Europe fairy lore, fairies value blond hair in humans. Blond babies are more likely to be stolen and replaced with changelings, and young blonde women are more likely to be lured away to the land of the fairies. In ancient Greece, although not all of the gods exhibited the trait, blond hair was seen as a sign of divinity. This idea may have developed due to the fact that blondes were seen as exotic and otherworldly, when compared to the mostly dark-haired, dark-eyed population of Greece.
In European fairy tales, blond hair was commonly ascribed to the heroes and heroines. This may occur in the text, as in Madame d'Aulnoy's La Belle aux cheveux d'or or The Beauty with Golden Hair, or in illustrations depicting the scenes. One notable exception is Snow White who, because of her mother's wish for a child "as red as blood, as white as snow, as black as ebony," has dark hair. This tendency appears also in more formal literature; in Milton's "Paradise Lost" the noble and innocent Adam and Eve have "golden tresses", while near the end of J. R. R. Tolkien's monumental Lord of the Rings, the especially favourable year following the War of the Ring was signified in the Shire by an exceptional number of blond-haired children.
In contemporary popular culture, it is often stereotyped that men find blonde women more attractive than women with other hair colors. Alfred Hitchcock preferred to cast blonde women for major roles in his films as he believed that the audience would suspect them the least, hence the term "Hitchcock blonde". Blonde jokes are a class of derogatory jokes based on a "dumb blonde" stereotype of blonde women being unintelligent, sexually promiscuous, or both. In other parts of modern culture, blonde women are often portrayed as "promiscuous", leading to the stereotype that blondes "have more fun." Jean Harlow (a natural ash blonde) and Marilyn Monroe (pale blond as a child though her hair darkened to brown) were notable bleached blonde sex icons of twentieth-century America, frequently portraying stereotypical dumb blondes in their films.
In the early-mid twentieth century, Nordicists such as Madison Grant and Alfred Rosenberg associated blond hair with a Nordic race, which they distinguished from a larger Aryan race that included what they called the non-blond Alpine race. During World War II, blond hair was one of the traits used by Nazis to select Slavic children for Germanization.
blonds in Old English (ca. 450-1100): Fæger hǣr
blonds in Aymara: Paqupaqu
blonds in Danish: Blondine
blonds in German: Blond
blonds in Spanish: Rubio
blonds in French: Blondeur
blonds in Scottish Gaelic: Gruag bhàn
blonds in Croatian: Plavuše
blonds in Italian: Capelli biondi
blonds in Hebrew: בלונד
blonds in Georgian: ქერა
blonds in Dutch: Blond
blonds in Japanese: 金髪
blonds in Polish: Blond (kolor)
blonds in Portuguese: Loiro
blonds in Quechua: Suqu
blonds in Russian: Блондины
blonds in Simple English: Blonde
blonds in Slovenian: Blond
blonds in Serbian: Плавокосе особе
blonds in Serbo-Croatian: Plavuša
blonds in Finnish: Vaaleahiuksisuus
blonds in Swedish: Blond
blonds in Chinese: 金髮
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