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素敵 is often described as a feminine word. Just how feminine is it? What would be the impression of a male speaker using it, if he didn't already use feminine speech?

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Female speakers would certainly use 「素敵{すてき}」 more often than male speakers would, but it is not a female-only word by any means.

I, an adult male last time I checked, use the word occasionally to describe persons and objects. I used to use it much more frequently when I was in the fashion retail industry where the vast majority of my customers were female. I used the word to compliment on my customers' clothes, bags, etc. as well as in describing my own merchandise.

I do not think, however, I use it nearly as often when speaking to another male. It would probably be considered kinda gay if I used it equally as often regardless of the listener's gender.

In retrospect, boys almost never used 「素敵」 to describe anything in elementary, junior high and high school while girls surely did. So, within those age groups, it was indeed a feminine word in my own experience.

Above is my own use of the word as an adult and how boys around me did not use it when I was a kid. Naturally, I may or may not represent the male speakers in general.

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    +1 Additionally, I have an impression that 素敵 used as an interjection is more feminine. – Yosh Aug 6 '15 at 1:39

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