What is a "coed"

I see this term now and then.

What is a coed?

Usually it refers to female college students. Co-ed is really gender-neutral, though, it just means men and women in school together. But somehow it has come to mean female students.

It’s a mispelling of the word code promulgated by college dormitories where boys and girls both reside.

Well, no, it’s short for co-educational. Most colleges, originally, were restricted to men. When a college started admitting women students, it became known as a “Co-educational” school (admitting both sexes), and female students got called “co-educationals”…"co-ed"s, because it was their admittance that made the school co-educational.

In the ancient days, women were not encouraged to get an education and those few who braved social scorn to get an education tended to cluster at women’s colleges.

When women first began to be admitted to schools that had been male-only, their presence made the schools “co-educational” in the sense that they provided “co-sexual” (although generally non-sexual) education.

Since it was the presence of women that “made” a formerly all-male establishment co-educational, the women were referred to as co-eds.

Betty Co-ed, 1930

“Co-ed” is short for co-educational, meaning open to both sexes. Back in the day, most of the major universities were only open to men; women, if they sought higher education at all, were usually only allowed into smaller, less prestigious schools. When they were finally opened to women, the universities were termed “co-educational”, and the women students entering were called “co-eds”.


Must type faster…

Shuud have red:

>> What is a “coed”?

You don’t watch much porn do you? Porn can be educational, even co-educational. Get more of it and you’ll see plenty of co-eds.

Oh funny quaint 'Merkins - of course it is a wood or a forest in Wales! :slight_smile:

All together, now, follow the bouncing ball!

Flirtation is an art with Betty Co-ed,
Her station quite depends upon her charms,
She gets the men in rushes by well-cultivated blushes
And she’s happy with a fellow on each arm!

Betty Co-ed has lips of red for Harvard,
Betty Co-ed has eyes of Yale’s deep blue,
Betty Co-ed’s a golden haired for Princeton,
Her dress I guess is black for old Purdue!

Betty Co-ed’s a smile for Pennsylvania,
Her heart is Dartmouth’s treasure, so 'tis said,
Betty Co-ed is loved by every college boy,
But I’m the one who’s loved by Betty Co-ed!

She made a wreck of Carnegie Tech and all its engineers;
She did the same at old Notre Dame, her line is good for years;
Roguish eyes, telling lies, breathing sighs!

Betty Co-ed has lips of red for Cornell,
Betty Co-ed has eyes of Navy blue,
Betty Co-ed, the golden haired for Amherst,
Her dress I guess is white for Georgia, too!

Betty Co-ed’s a smile for old Northwestern,
Her heart is Texas treasure, so 'tis said,
Betty Co-ed is loved by every college boy,
But I’m the one who’s loved by Betty Co-ed!

A friend of mine took to calling me “Lamia the Co-ed” after I went away to school, despite the fact that I’m at a women’s college. He kept insisting that the term could apply to any female college student. :slight_smile:

To what extent is it regarded as an offensive or belittling term?

(I’m not looking for an argument about whether or not you think it should be - this is GQ remember.)

I think it would be not so much “offensive” as hilariously outdated.

Not as outdated as you might think. Some universities, such as that crimson one near Boston, only officially became co-educational in the 1970’s.

If I remember their history correctly, they opened up the classes and resources to a certain nearby women’s college in the early 40s. In 1963 they started awarding their degrees to students from that women’s college, effectively becoming a co-ed college. I think their dorms became co-ed in the 70s. (Though I don’t think they allow co-ed rooms even now.)

It’s not outdated as a term for the institution, as all-men’s or all-women’s institutions still exist. It IS outdated as a term for a female college student, dating from an era when coeducational institutions were the exception rather than the norm (my own undergraduate institution prided itself on being the first coed college in NY State - since its inception in the mid 19th century - of course, if you examined the history, you discovered that up until the 60’s they housed men and women at opposite ends of the campus).

The remarks concerning “less prestigous” might be tempered somewhat by observing that “The Seven Sisters” were quite prestigous, although the thrust of the educational experience at those institutions may have differed markedly from the men’s ivy league schools early on. The rich thought their daughters should go to college, all right, but only to get the appropriate social polish while they learned about the classics.

Not sure about co-ed rooms, but we did have a co-ed bathroom in my (formerly Radcliffe) dorm. The gender balance on the floor was such that it made more sense to have one women’s and one co-ed, so that’s what we did.

I agree with yabob. I would still refer to Harvard as a coed school. But if someone had called me a coed, I would have expected him to be asking me to the sock-hop next.

Well, seeing as women outnumber men in academia now the term is somewhat dated… as in…

“20 - count 'em - 20 Coeds”

as one of our local neon signs advertises…

And it goes the other way, too – Sarah Lawrence became co-ed (in the reverse sense) in '68. One of my former bosses was one of the (IIRC very few) men in that first co-ed class.