I have an interesting question which has got me thinking lately. You see, there are some nouns that I have always seen be used as masculine such as the words "fucker" and "motherfucker" (which I am sorry for mentioning). So to keep it short, I would like to know whether they can be used as feminine or not. Like always used to insult men and not used to offend women.

I understand this can be taken as rude but I just thought I would ask.

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    Please have no concerns in regard to asking here about these terms. Yours is a valuable question which IMO deserves more upvotes. The words about which you ask are part of our language, and new learners of English deserve to understand their meanings and usages. – P. E. Dant Jul 17 '17 at 23:54
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    English doesn't have masculine and feminine nouns, at least not in the sense you're using those terms. – ell Jul 18 '17 at 22:43
up vote 33 down vote accepted

Technically, it's possible to use these terms for any gender. The definition in the dictionary will generally support that, as Max cited. However, there are strong cultural dimensions to these terms.

It has been observed for a while that insults are divided by gender. In a 2011 article entitled "The Name Game: Using Insults to Illustrate the Social Construction of Gender", a researcher talked about a game he had often used in his classrooms. The method was to ask students to come up with all the names they could think of for men and women. The female and male students were also divided during this exercise and wrote their responses on opposite sides of the board.

Some of the findings they came up with: both men and women came up with more insulting names for women than men; men tended to insult women based on sexuality more than they did themselves; and the same sexual behaviour that was an insult when applied to women turned out to be a compliment when applied to men (e.g. slut vs. player). There were various similar findings.

As Catija and P.E.Dant note in comments on another answer, there are other terms that mean something quite different depending on whom they're applied to. "Bitch" as applied to a woman (one of the most common insults) conjures up mean-spiritedness, pettiness, ambition, but applied to a man it implies weakness and subordination. Why does it mean that for men? Because it's associated with women, and terms that seem to diminish masculinity are apparently some of the hardest-hitting. In that article above, most of the male students ranked "homo" (=gay) as the most offensive thing they could be called.

Meanwhile, some terms only seem to be applied to men or women; here is a page from a book that lists some of the differences. You'll notice that on that page, all of the insults for women fall under an analysis of their sexual behaviour. Even terms that semantically appear to be neutral tend to be used for one gender primarily (e.g. high-maintenance for women). Similar lists can be constructed for men, such as this one. Chris H's answer also shows how you can use Ngrams to find "He is a ----" vs. "She is a ----" collocations.

One of the interesting things we find is that terms indicating unapologetic, inconsiderate behaviour seem to cleave most closely to men. Among these are jerk, asshole, dick, douchebag, bastard, prick and, yes, fucker and motherfucker.

From what I recall of my linguistics education, many of these patterns hold true when examined across languages. One of the most reliable phenomena is that terms that simply mean "woman" are pejorative. There are obvious and disheartening societal reasons for this.

Despite these trends, however, the way we use these terms may change someday. Many things are in flux, including gender roles. Perhaps in the same way that terms like "actor" have come to be unisex (instead of "actor/actress"), our insults will become more "egalitarian" too.

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    Not everyone agrees that egalitarianism is desirable among genders. Men have done a rotten job so far, and there's something to be said for pulling a 180. There is much invested in the continuance of male hegemony, going back to the "discovery" of the connexion between coitus and childbirth and the resulting deprecation of the Old Religion in Europe. Anyone who's interested can spend several years reading The White Goddess by Robt. Graves. – P. E. Dant Jul 18 '17 at 1:48
  • @P.E.Dant Interesting. For this answer, I suppose the transition from the second-last to the last paragraph makes it seem like unqualified praise for such developments? Let me see if I can edit... – Luke Sawczak Jul 18 '17 at 1:56
  • @P.E.Dant No worries, I didn't take it that way — but the "not everyone agrees" suggests that I said egalitarianism is desirable between genders, my opinion on which I mean to reserve. :p – Luke Sawczak Jul 18 '17 at 1:58
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    Heh! There's nothing reserved about mine. – P. E. Dant Jul 18 '17 at 2:08
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    Excellent answer. One teeny, tiny quibble: the word hysterical wasn't ever really meant to be gender-neutral; based on its Greek and Latin roots, it literally means something like "having problems in the uterus" (or even just "uterus-y"). The fact that it's sometimes applied to men with the same meaning as how it is now applied to women is actually kind of progress in the egalitarian-direction. – 1006a Jul 18 '17 at 16:29

To address your question as posed in the title, there are some (nearly) masculine-specific insults:

  • Bastard

1. Bastard is an insulting word which some people use about a person, especially a man, who has behaved very badly.

...

3. A bastard is a person whose parents were not married to each other at the time that he or she was born. This use could cause offence.

(all definitions from Collins)

To look at how this is used with respect to gender we can use Google ngrams for he's a bastard vs she's a bastard: Bastard ngram which indicates that it's used almost exclusively for men.

  • Male genitalia Prick, dick and cock are all words for penis, and can all be used as insults for a man. Cock has many other meanings and dick has a few so I've quoted the definition for prick.

6. If someone calls a man a prick, they are indicating that they do not like him and that they think he is stupid.

...

7. A man's prick is his penis.

Ngrams finds not a single use for she's a prick in its corpus, so this can be regarded as exclusively male.

  • Sexuality and sexual relations

There's a long history of insulting men by saying they have a liking for other men, or even that just that they come across as feminine. There's too much baggage to go into detail here. I can only suggest that you avoid using such terms. Even as character dialogue writing a story you have to be careful.

Cuckold

A cuckold is a man whose wife is having an affair with another man.

This is often, especially recently, shortened to cuck. The use is evolving fast but it currently seems to be mainly used online by men who could are anti-feminist and/or far-right.

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    "Cuck" isn't merely right-wing. Normal right-wingers are generally (in my experience) nice people who don't talk that way at all. Its a definitional "alt-right" insult. "Alt-right" itself is essentially a wrap-up term for extreme right-wing hate groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis. For most of us, being "insulted" by such a person is something of a complement. – T.E.D. Jul 18 '17 at 15:37
  • @T.E.D. I had a similar impression but didn't want to push it too far without confirmation (plus differences in the definition of right wing between English-speaking countries). I'd say far-right or extreme right encompasses both the "old" far right of the KKK and neo-nazis, plus the new alt-right (a term I was avoiding when I posted this, as it's new and not (well-)defined in dictionaries. Also I have a hard time keeping up with where to draw the line between mainstream right-wing and far-right these days, while acknowledging it exists. Anyway I'll edit. – Chris H Jul 18 '17 at 15:42
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    I'm not a fan of that term either (hence the irony quotes). Its really just a marketing term for people who have (correctly) concluded that associating themselves explicitly with the well-known hate groups they align with will marginalize them. – T.E.D. Jul 18 '17 at 15:46
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    @T.E.D. I would regard being insulted by people like that as a bit of an honour. By I try to avoid reading too much of what they write for the sake of my blood pressure. – Chris H Jul 18 '17 at 15:53
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    Note that both bastard and cuckold traditionally insult a man through a woman, as does son of a bitch: In very basic, old-fashioned terms, either the man's mother was unchaste, or his wife is. – 1006a Jul 18 '17 at 16:31

Yes, we can call a female person a fucker or a motherfucker. These two words are not restricted to males. The two roughly mean a contemptible person, without regard to one's gender:

  • fucker

    1. a person who fucks: a vulgar use
    2. an unpleasant or contemptible person: considered vulgar by many
    3. any person or thing: considered vulgar by many
  • motherfucker
    Slang, Vulgar
    a person or thing regarded as remarkable, despicable, contemptible, unpleasant, difficult, etc.

(YourDictionary)

For example,

There's this fucker at work. _____ is always complaining about the customers and it's really annoying.

The worker could easily be a man or a woman, meaning "he" or "she" can go in the blank.

I think most insults are like this, at least the ones I can immediately think of. For example, whore and bitch. You might think these only apply to women, but men can easily be called those insults too.

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    Though when a guy is being called a "bitch" it usually has a slightly different connotation... – Catija Jul 17 '17 at 23:29
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    @Catija Agreed. For a woman it seems to mean "mean-spirited", but for a man it falls under the general heading "weak, cowardly, subordinate"... – Luke Sawczak Jul 17 '17 at 23:32
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    @Catija ...and when a man calls a woman a "bitch", it often means "ambitous, talented, undaunted"; in short, the very qualities these same men deem so admirable in other men. – P. E. Dant Jul 17 '17 at 23:54
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    Yep. I'd say it was amusing that the word means opposite things depending on the gender of the person it's addressed to... except I'm female and it makes me depressed. – Catija Jul 17 '17 at 23:56
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    @Catija As a balm for your depression, remember that bitchin is an unalloyed term of effusive praise! – P. E. Dant Jul 18 '17 at 0:04

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