Bald

  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It always means "hairless", Mohktarmokhtar. If people have some positive feeling about hairlessness, then they might think "bald" was a positive word.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I can't think of too many positive uses. I've heard women talk about "bald, sexy men" before, so some women apparently think that bald men are attractive. Judging from the number of young men who shave their heads in the U.S., baldness is definitely more popular than it was when I was a kid.

    In most language I hear, "bald" is used as a negative or neutral adjective: (Negative) That guy is as bald as an egg. (Neutral) We could see the bald peak of the mountain above the timberline.
     
    Last edited:

    MattiasNYC

    Senior Member
    Swedish
    I have to disagree actually. I think there are plenty of instances where the word "bald" is used neutrally, precisely because it is much more "accepted" to shave one's head these days. So I don't think it is unequivocally a negatively loaded word, but of course context matters.
     

    djmc

    Senior Member
    English - United Kingdom
    Bald normally means without hair. Bald eagles do have feathers but they are white. Even though the expression "bald as a coot" is normally used to describe someone who is very bald, coots also have white feathers on top of their heads. However bald can be used positively, for example "I don't want excuses, I just want the bald unadorned truth".
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    You might also talk about the bald face of a mountain. This is not negative. It is simply describing a mountain that is solid rock without any dirt or vegetation.

    I'm not sure if the original poster was asking only about the word in reference to humans.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I'm not sure if the original poster was asking only about the word in reference to humans.
    I wasn't either, James. Mokhtarmokhtar didn't give people much to work with. Perhaps I should have asked that question.
     

    mplsray

    Senior Member
    TV Tropes has an article "Bald of Awesome" which begins:

    Baldness is usually implemented by television and film writers as a sign of premature aging, poor morality, or just general weakness. But occasionally, baldness instead indicates just how awesome a character is, usually representing leadership or over-the-top manliness. Bald Black Leader Guy is a popular subtrope since, for some reason, black men in leadership positions are almost always bald in fiction.
    In such a case, clearly, "bald" is not negative.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    "Bald" can also be used figuratively, eg "the bald facts", which means "just the facts, nothing more: no opinions". In this example, "bald" sounds neither 'positive' nor 'negative' to me.
     

    JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Even in reference to humans, it doesn't have to be negative. It can be simply factual. How else are you supposed to describe someone who's lacking hair? Hairless sounds even worse that bald, if you ask me. I guess you could say "the guy with the shaved head," but only if his head does in fact appear to have been shaved.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The bald truth is that those of us who are genetically bald are fully aware of the link with high levels of male sex hormone, and see nothing negative about that at all, thank you very much! ;)

    There are more scientific alternatives (hairless, glabrous...), more insulting ones (baldie, slaphead...) and coy ones (follically-challenged...).
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I have a shaved head (not bald), but the negative connotation for me comes from the phrase (in the USA) "baldfaced lie". The Brits usually say, "barefaced" but in the USA we mostly hear "baldfaced".

    Mostly "bald" is associated with moving past youth, and as our culture venerates youth, then "bald" will be usually seen as negative.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Even in reference to humans, it doesn't have to be negative. It can be simply factual. How else are you supposed to describe someone who's lacking hair? Hairless sounds even worse that bald, if you ask me. I guess you could say "the guy with the shaved head," but only if his head does in fact appear to have been shaved.
    Yes, I agree. I am in a male quartet, and one of them invited us to his house. I told my wife, 'Nick has invited us over to practise.' As she doesn't know who I mean by Nick, I say, 'Tall. Wears colourful trousers. Bald.'

    That was a neutral matter-of-fact description. I wasn't making fun of him. I can't say 'shaved head' because I think he's just without hair on the head.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Well, the technical name is alopecia but that means both pattern baldness and total baldness.

    Alopecia totalis means the total loss of all head hair including eyebrows and facial hair. I think that this is very rare but I've seen a couple of cases and this would be inappropriate usage here.

    I've heard "balding pate" and "bald pate" and the latter might work.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    In BE "pate" is a very old-fashioned word that I doubt many of the population would understand. (OED: " Now arch. and humorous.")
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top