Latin Grammar Unit 1 : Gender


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).

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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
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