Juniper Birkin (cocun) wrote in linguaphiles,
Juniper Birkin

Silly little question concerning the use of the words "perfume" and "cologne" in English as opposed to German: Are these words used in a gender-specific way? Perfume when talking about a woman, cologne when talking about a man? It does seem wrong to me to say a man uses "perfume" (other than in German, where it's perfectly okay), but is that just me or is there actually a rule behind this? Or is there no rule, but it's commonly agreed that men wear cologne and not perfume in English?

I remember from English class in school that one of my teachers said "cologne" is "Kölnischwasser" and means that specific brand of perfume from Cologne. But maybe it's actually a generic term?

Any help would be great. Thank you.

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