Trend Watch


David Bowie, star often described as androgynous, passed away

Androgynous, a word that has often been used to describe David Bowie, spiked in lookups following the news of his death on Sunday, January 10th.

Androgynous comes from a Latin word androgynus (meaning hermaphrodite), which in turn comes from combining the Greek roots andro ("man") and gynous ("woman"). A person who is androgynous is an androgyne.

The extent to which Bowie has been associated with this word may in part be measured by the fact that he was described with it by critic Robert Christgau in 1972:

Bowie’s own persona, Ziggy Stardust, is an androgynous alien

and again almost 44 years later, in the obituary printed in the New York Times this morning:

he was complexly androgynous, an explorer of human impulses that could not be quantified.

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