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Reuters/Charles Platiau
“Beach, ” an OKCupid profile descriptor preferred slightly by women.

The many different words men and women use to describe themselves on OKCupid

Amy X. Wang
By Amy X. Wang


In the world of online dating, where photos and short profiles are often users’ only source of information about each other, how do people define themselves?

Curious about the answer to this question, Darin Hawley, who runs the trivia site, pulled language data from roughly 97,000 straight men and women’s OKCupid dating profiles in the 100 largest urban areas by population size in America. Using several Python programming language scripts, Hawley found the number of times certain words were mentioned by both genders. He then filtered the data to focus on particular sets of words—like adjectives, nouns, and interests—and posted some of his results online. Hawley shared his data set with Quartz.

Below is a look at some of the word usage rates, which Hawley tells Quartz are generally what people might expect from both genders. For instance, he says, “Guys use words like ‘wrestling’ and ‘hunting’ and ‘golfing’ more than women.” (All data is adjusted for the sample’s slightly higher number of male profiles than female profiles.)

Since Hawley says the data is a random sampling of roughly 1,000 users from each large urban area, it isn’t representative of all users on OKCupid across the country. Still, several interesting ratios stand out. The word “love,” for instance, is used fairly evenly between both genders—but the word “family” is used nearly twice as many times by women as by men.

And “active” and “passionate” are used slightly more by women, while men seem to favor descriptors such as “cool” and “romantic.”

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