Here’s an Ngram Faceoff between girl (blue) and boy (red) in English from 1800 to 2008. Further evidence of the end of men? (Click the chart to get a larger version.)

20 Responses to “Ngram Faceoff: Girl and boy”

  1. Julie says:

    Try doing it with the search terms capitalized, and you get a completely different chart. How odd. I wonder if there’s a way to make it non-case-sensitive.

  2. Dan Pink Dan Pink says:

    @Julie — When the terms are capitalized, the sample is ten times smaller.

  3. Maarten says:

    If you try it with men vs. women, you also get an interesting graph:
    Note that ‘man or men’ is mentioned 8/9 times more than ‘woman or women’ in the 1800-1900 period.
    After that, it changes from twice as much around 1990 with the exception of ‘women’ which is briefly mentioned more than the others during the 1990-2000 period.

  4. How about switching the order of the search terms, so that ‘boy’ is Blue, and ‘girl’ is Red ( which is closer to Pink. )

  5. Jim says:

    He vs. She yields a more interesting result.

  6. Kathleen says:

    Hmmm…took long enough!

  7. andy says:

    All four of these terms at the same time: ‘boy,girl,man,woman’ provide an interesting four-trace graph.

  8. Dan Pink Dan Pink says:

    @maarten — What confounds the man results a bit is that “man” has more meanings, and therefore more uses, that “woman.” For instance, especially in older times, “man” often meant “mankind.” What’s more, “man” can be a verb — as in “man the barricades.” Of course, that more robust use is itself telling.

  9. Dan Pink Dan Pink says:

    @Jim — He, she is here:

    @Andy — Very interesting. Boy, girl, man, woman is here:

    All — Male, female is equally interesting:

  10. Chuck G says:

    dog vs cat.

    Cat has always been less popular but shows slow,continual growth over the last 200 years. Dog hit a low in 1980, but since 2000 has clearly broken out.

  11. cheryl davis says:

    I checked dog and cat too. Seems like men and dogs had a low period in the Martha Stewart years.

    I also checked guy and doll. Doll has a pretty strong showing in the 30’s and 40’s, but thankfully has dropped precipitously since then.

    I tried babe – but I couldn’t think of a counterpart.

  12. Paul says:

    Okay, nerds that we are — reality check:
    search for “statistics” and “meaning”

  13. Red says:

    Got an interesting result using “boy,girl,Boy,Girl”

  14. Red says:

    Got an interesting result using “boy,girl,Boy,Girl”

  15. Hey, I have also checked a few words. Among them, “I, You, We, They, He, She, It” and the Ivy League schools. You might draw some insightful conclusions out of these charts. Link is here

  16. I thought it would be interesting to look at the use of communication words: conversation, dialogue, talk, chat, discussion, debate and social networking –
    It seems despite the huge popularity of social media, social networking has some way to catch up!

    If you then filter for British English and then American English the results are quite different
    British English: discussion leads then talk, debate, conversation, dialogue, chat []
    American English: talk leads then discussion, conversation, debate, dialogue, chat []

  17. Rachel Evans says:

    Tried “heaven,hell”– what’s not so interesting is that “heaven” was heavily used in 1800, compared to the rarely mentioned “hell.” However, by 2000– equal usage.

    Also tracked the popularity (or lack thereof) of my name. 2000 was the all-time high for literary Rachels… Whereas the husband’s “John” is back where it started in 1800 after high 20th century traffic.

    Thanks, Dan!

  18. Mr. Spruce says:

    Take a look at sir / madam

  19. Laurie Smith says:

    I loved these graphs the minute I saw your first post. Since I’m a science teacher, I had to do “science and religion” since 1900. I can’t post the graph here, but maybe you can do it and show it. It’s pretty neat!

  20. Michiel says:

    lol … orange beats apple beats microsoft. In company brand name value it might be reverse order …

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