If there is something more confusing for the uninitiated about the connectors, they are the terms “male and female” assigned to identify the connectors.


However, in engineering, this difference between the male and female connectors can a big mistake in the mechanical design of the equipment. For the process team, it can mean a disaster.


The connectors are designed to fit perfectly and without problems. Otherwise, the end result is expensive for plant managers and business owners. It is extremely important to understand the difference between male and female connector types and which ones you need the most.



Male & Female Connector Types

The male connector

While it may seem fun to call any type of connector with “male” bumps, it is a basic form of connector identification.

The male connection can be connected to a cable, some type of hardware or one or more cables. For example, a house consists of many male connectors.


male female connector types


An electric two-prong plug is an example. The male connector is designed to be inserted into other equipment.

Using the electrical plug as an example, if the electrical plug does not fit perfectly in the outlet, the end result is that there is no connection to the electrical pulse in the outlet.


What is most needed in this case is debatable. Without the plug, the outlet is useless. Without the output, the plug is just a plug with two tips.



Other types of male connectors

There are other easily identifiable male connectors. A familiar to most people easy to identify is its USB cable plug.

At the end of a USB cable, there is a plug that connects to a modem or computer. These USB plugs are intended to meet the computer system standards to be useful.


Often, male connectors have a series of tips or “pins” that originate from a small base or adapter. It is important to understand the use of male connectors.


In certain cases, there are male to male connectors connected to adapters for the purpose of dual connections. Male connections vary in size, depending on usage specifications.



Female connectors

Female connectors, such as male connectors, can be connected to hardware, wires or cables. This is where the similarity ends. The female connectors have small holes or openings into which a male connector can be inserted.

Using the outlet example, keep in mind that openings in the outlet await the insertion of an electrical outlet.


male female connector types


Computers also have several female connectors that allow the insertion of cables for keyboards, monitors and other computerized devices.

Female connectors also vary in size, as evidenced by the size of female connectors on computers that allow the insertion of the USB cable.


A female connector in industrial projects can be as small as a 3/4 inch coupler or fastener or as large as a six-foot tube. Commercial female connectors may have a series of “wires” into which the male connector is inserted and tightened.



Schematic symbols for male and female connectors.

To obtain a more visible image of the male and female connectors, mechanical engineers use schematic symbols.


The male symbol appears as a horizontal arrow with the tip pointing outward. The female symbol appears as a letter “Y” on its side.


These symbols represent images of “sender” and “receiver”, not very different from the symbols used for Mars and Venus.



uses of male and female connectors

In most cases, the male or female connector types can be added together for a multitude of uses. Children often learn to use male and female connectors with union toys, such as Tinker Toys.


The male and female connectors you need depend on how they will be used. You need electrical sockets and plugs for lighting and small appliances.


Variant Uses

In the United Kingdom, for example, the connector on the end of a headphone cable is known as a “connector”, which is connected to a plug in the main unit.

The same is generally the case in Italy, where the English word “jack” is commonly used to indicate the connector on the end of a headphone cable.

In Romania, the female connectors are known as “mamă” (mother) and the male connectors are “tată” (father).



Abbreviations and alternative terminology.

The standard letters “M” and “F” are commonly used in part numbers to designate the gender of the connector. For example, on the Switchcraft XLR microphone or hydrophone connectors, part numbers are indicated as follows:

A3F = 3-pin audio female connector;
A3M = 3-pin audio male connector.


The terms, pin, and plug are also often used for “male” connectors, and the receptacle, socket, and slot are used for “female” connectors. In many cases, these terms are more common than men and women, especially in the documentation for non-specialists.


These almost synonymous terms can cause great confusion when designations are shortened on labels.


For example, a high-density female D-subminiature connector with a size 1 housing can be called DE15F or DE15S. Both terms mean the same but could be interpreted as completely different elements.


Similarly, a standard density male D-sub with a shell of size 1 can be called DE9M or DE9P; a standard density D-sub female with a size 2 housing can be called DA15F or DA15S; a high-density male D-sub with a size 3 housing can be called DB44M or DB44P; Etc.