In researching last week’s Kindle post, I came across this interesting phrase: W.A.F.. Here’s the definition:

wife acceptance factor n. In an object, especially an electronic device,
that normally appeals only to men, the qualities or features added to or
modified in the object to make it acceptable to women. Also: WAF

Example Citation:

The reality is that most traditional hi-fi equipment has
been designed to appeal to male tastes, and consequently, more
typically resembles scientific tools and industrial test equipment than
your average home furniture. But, it seems, the growing pressures of
the Wife Acceptance Factor
is pushing stereo design in a new direction, and creating a new market
in the process, one that seems to be marrying hi-fi performance with
interior decorating.
—Gerald Levitch, "Heard but not seen," The Toronto Star, September 3, 1989

For any red-blooded American, married gadget-head, this is a major concern . . .


via Wordspy

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. michael schumacher commented on Dec 4


    Moody’s has been busy today…..

    getting it all out before Dec. 11th??


  2. zao commented on Dec 4

    WAF is half the reason Bose sales of speakers outstrip the next 10 competitors combines (or some such absurd statistic). It is not quality, it is WAF.

  3. Rob Dawg commented on Dec 4

    The possibility of the WAF pegging the needle at on WTF scale has stayed my impulse purchase many a time.

  4. montaigne commented on Dec 4

    Huge WAF appeal: Wii.

  5. Short Man commented on Dec 4

    Huge WAF appeal: Wii.

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Horrible WAF appeal (from personal experience): Two Guitar Heroes III wireless guitars for the Wii stuffed under the coffee table.

  6. rtalcott commented on Dec 4

    WAF….been around for ~30 years that I can remember starting from discussions in Audio Amateur in the 70’s…


  7. lux commented on Dec 4

    If you’re talking about design aesthetic, OK, and I’ll add that Apple has benefited by paying attention to this as well.

    However, it really bugs me when the term WAF is thrown around as shorthand for the sexist assumption that women have no interest whatsoever in anything technical or gadget-y.

  8. Will commented on Dec 4

    Now there’s what we call a non-sequitur: marriage and sex in the same discussion ;)

  9. Andrew commented on Dec 4

    This is one of the reasons why the Wii is so popular. In fact, at the 2007 E3, Shigeru Miyamoto (a Nintendo legend) spoke about one of the main considerations that goes into his game designs these days: the Wife-O-Meter. He particularly pointed to their Brain Age and Nintendogs games, and how the success of those games is largely due to how high they score on the Wife-O-Meter.


  10. Rob Dawg commented on Dec 4

    …it really bugs me when the term WAF is thrown around as shorthand for the sexist assumption…

    Au Contraire. “The Wife” has no explicit sexual assignment. It is you who is the sexist. ;-)

  11. cranberrysplash commented on Dec 4

    Does Ben Stein’s conjecture with no supporting evidence really warrant a congressional questioning?



    Along these lines investment banks should not be able to place sell ratings on stocks they underwrite because that could push the value of the security down..wait a minute..

  12. Eclectic commented on Dec 4

    My guess is Mrs. BP is already in a Safe House for abused WAFs sponsored by Abused WAFs Anonymous (AWA), or she will be by Festivus.

    Then your homing pigeons will come in handy for exchanging progress notes on your 12-Step Program.

  13. Ant commented on Dec 4

    Of course there’s always the other alternative…

    A college buddy of mine learned that a number of pieces of his high end electronics equipment were incompatible with his girlfriend.

    Faced with the prospect of downgrading much of his rig, he opted instead for upgrading the girlfriend…

    (G,D,R) ;-)

  14. montaigne commented on Dec 4

    Short man,

    Seriously? Everyone I know who has a Wii or has friends with a Wii reports the wives loving it. My wife was looking at the toy catalogue with the kids and then says we should get a Wii. I about fell over. Then she said of course we’d need a bigger tv. Wii has WAF. Guitar hero rocks.

    We’re twenty somethings though.

  15. JasRas commented on Dec 4

    Yes! This is a HUGE force in the universe!! It started with a 3rd gen iPod, then a 4th gen video iPod, then HER Macbook Pro G4, then the Nintendo Wii (the first video console she thought was cool–ever) then my Macbook Pro, then HER iPhone, and finally my iPhone.

    W.A.F. requires less justification to buy things, produces less frustration in the household, and allows my wife to join the technology revolution.

    I am convinced that W.A.F. is really the key to Apple’s unbelievable success. I should have put every dollar into NTDOY and AAPL when I saw my wife being attracted to the products… It could be the largest driving force in electronics today. Come to think of it, that is why we got the flat screen on the wall, too…Dang…

  16. JasRas commented on Dec 4

    Oh yeah, and the Porsche Carrera S. The easiest “sell” I’ve ever had on a car to my wife.

  17. donna commented on Dec 4

    Wow, will women finally get to design electronics equipment so there aren’t seventeen remotes with sixty buttons each and you can’t figure out which one is for what gadget?

    It will be so horrible for the guys, huh?

  18. Tom B commented on Dec 5

    The big problem with wives is that they don’t understand that speakers need to be big. The guy talking about Bose hit the nail dead on.

  19. ef commented on Dec 5

    People still think this way. Icks!

    Girls excelling in math, engineering, and science beware.

    A hammer is a hammer, whether it is black or pink.

  20. Tom B commented on Dec 5

    “A hammer is a hammer, whether it is black or pink”

    Tell that to Thor. Next you’ll have boy Valkyries.

  21. Mojo commented on Dec 5

    Simplification of gadgets works for me. Too many danged buttons on everything, not necessary. I like my phone to get calls, make calls, and take messages. I don’t need it to blow my nose and pick up my drycleaning. I can read a freaking map, I don’t need my car checking in with big brother to tell me to make a left. Etcetera. Dang it, I say.

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