LogoLogo

Gender of Nouns: masculine and feminine

In Italian there are two genders: masculine and feminine; the masculine usually ends in -o, -e or -a, the feminine in -a or -e.

Common Nouns

  • l'uomo (= man); il bambino (= male child); il dottore (= doctor); l'ufficio (= office); il lavoro (= work); il toro (= bull); il gatto (= cat); il treno (= train); lo zucchero (= sugar).
  • la donna (= woman); la bambina (= female child); la dottoressa (= woman doctor); la casa (= house); la vacanza (= vacation); la mucca (= cow); la gatta (= female cat); la macchina (= car); l'aquila (= eagle).

Nouns of One Gender Only

These are nouns that are used only in the masculine or only in the feminine. It is important to notice that also names of things and animals in Italian are either masculine or feminine, never neutral, as in English.

Nouns Masculine Only

  • il tavolo = table
  • il vino = wine
  • l'amore = love
  • il paese = village
  • il fiume = river
  • il mare = sea
  • il papa = pope
  • l'aereo = airplane
  • lo squalo = shark

Nouns Feminine Only

  • la sedia = chair
  • l'acqua = water
  • la gelosia = jealousy
  • la città = city, town
  • la montagna = mountain
  • la terra = land, earth
  • la chiesa = church
  • la nave = ship
  • la tigre = tiger

Nouns with one form for both masculine and feminine

Only the article, and not always, reveals the gender. In the plural, however, there are two different forms. See also Plural rules
    In the order: English, masculine singular, masculine plural, feminine singular, feminine plural.
  • artist ⇒ l'artista, gli artisti -- l'artista, le artiste
  • colleague ⇒ il collega, i colleghi -- la collega, le colleghe
  • pianist ⇒ il pianista, i pianisti -- la pianista, le pianiste

Nouns with two forms - similar root

These nouns have one masculine form and another feminine, from a similar root.
    In the order: English, masculine singular, masculine plural, feminine singular, feminine plural.
  • child ⇒ il bambino, i bambini -- la bambina, le bambine
  • painter ⇒ il pittore, i pittori -- la pittrice, le pittrici
  • son ⇒ il figlio, i figli -- la figlia, le figlie
  • father in-law ⇒ il suocero, i suoceri -- la suocera, le suocere

Nouns with two forms - different root

These nouns have one masculine forms and another feminine, but from completely different roots. These are usually nouns indicating consanguineity or animals.
    In the order: English, masculine singular, masculine plural, feminine singular, feminine plural.
  • husband ⇒ il marito, i mariti -- la moglie, le mogli
  • brother ⇒ il fratello, i fratelli -- la sorella, le sorelle
  • father ⇒ il padre, i padri -- la madre, le madri
  • son in-law ⇒ il genero, i generi -- la nuora, le nuore
  • bull (ox) ⇒ il toro (bue), i tori (buoi) -- la mucca, le mucche
  • ram ⇒ il montone, i montoni -- la pecora, le pecore