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Male connector


The terms "slot", "socket", "receptacle" and "outlet" are often used for "female" connectors, and "plug", "prong" and "pin" for "male" connectors. In many cases these terms are more common than male and female, especially in documentation intended for the non-specialist. It also causes a fair amount of confusion when those names are shortened in labels. For example, the male component of an HD15 connector can be named either HD15M or HD15P (HD15F or HD15S for female versions), both of which mean the same thing but could be confused for different items when there is no accompanying picture. Further confusion can be caused by the term jack, which is used for both female and male connectors.

IEEE STD 100 and ANSI Y32.16 define "plug" and "jack" by location or motion, rather than gender. A connector in a fixed location is a jack, and a moveable connector is a plug. The distinction is relative, so a portable radio is considered stationary compared to the cable from the headphones; the radio has a jack, and the headphone cable has a plug. It is common practice to use female connectors for jacks, so the informal gender-based usage often agrees with the functional description of the technical standards. This is not always the case, so it is best to use "male" and "female" for gender, and "plug" and "jack" for function.

NOTE: In electrical and mechanical trades and manufacturing, each of a pair of mating connectors or fasteners is conventionally assigned the designation male or female. The assignment is by direct analogy with genitalia and sexual intercourse; the part bearing one or more protrusions, or which fits inside the other, being designated male and the part containing the corresponding indentations or fitting outside the other being female.

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