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It gradually eclipsed the native term "fair", of same meaning, from Old English fæġer, causing "fair" later to become a general term for "light complexioned".
This earlier use of "fair" survives in the proper name Fairfax, from Old English fæġer-feahs meaning "blond hair".
American Heritage's Book of English Usage propounds that, insofar as "a blonde" can be used to describe a woman but not a man who is merely said to possess blond(e) hair, the term is an example of a "sexist stereotype [whereby] women are primarily defined by their physical characteristics." The OED also records that blond as an adjective is especially used with reference to women, in which case it is likely to be spelt "blonde", citing three Victorian usages of the term.
However, linguists who favor a Latin origin for the word say that Medieval Latin blundus was a vulgar pronunciation of Latin flavus, also meaning "yellow".
Most authorities, especially French, attest the Frankish origin.
Recent archaeological and genetic study published in 2014 found that seven "Scandinavian hunter-gatherers" found in the 7,700-year-old Motala archaeological site in southern Sweden had both light skin gene variants, SLC24A5 and SLC45A2, and that they had a third gene, HERC2/OCA2, which causes blue eyes and also contributes to lighter skin and blond hair.
Genetic research published in 20 also indicates that Yamnaya Proto-Indo-Europeans who migrated to Europe in the Bronze Age were overwhelmingly dark-eyed (brown), dark-haired and had a skin colour that was moderately light, though somewhat darker than that of the average modern European.