Gender in the Latin Language
In English gender distinguishes between male, female and he, she, it. In Latin every noun is either masculine, feminine or neuter.
Words referring to males/male jobs are masculine. e.g father - pater or agricola - farmer
Words referring to a female are feminine. e.g mater - mother or puella - girl
Words referring to intimate things are either masculine, feminine or neuter. e.g gladius - sword (m), villa - house (f), templum - temple (n).
How can we tell the gender of a noun?
- Declensions can give good indicators of gender
- 1st declension nouns that end in -a are fem, unless they refer to a male thing or job
- So ancilla, via, villa, cena, pecunia, victoria, etc are fem.
- But nauta, agricola, poeta are masc.
- All 2nd declension nouns ( ending in -us or -er) are masc*
- some exceptions but they are rare
- So servus, dominus, filius, gladius, hortus, puer, magister etc. are masc.
- All 2nd declension nouns which in the nom.end in -um are neuter
- So forum, cubiculum, templum, auxilium, consilium etc. are neuter
- 3rd declension nouns can be masc, fem, or neuter - hard to indentify