This article investigates the sociolinguistic variable of apical palatalization in Cairene Arabic. First, I discuss its linguistic features and then its sociolinguistic distribution. The significance of palatalization as a sociolinguistic variable is its status as a stylistic resource of Cairene Arabic. Depending on the complex interaction of a number of factors, some Egyptians use features of Classical Arabic while speaking in Egyptian Arabic for stylistic purposes. Palatalization, on the other hand, is an example of a stylistic resource that belongs to Cairene Arabic proper. The roles of gender and social class in the distribution of palatalization are explored in some detail. As in a number of other speech communities, women in Cairo seem to have been the innovators of this sound change.