Grammar: Nouns Gender Sex
Video: Gender of Nouns
THE GENDER IN COMMON NOUNS DISTINGUISHED
BY A WORD SIGNIFICANT OF SEX.
| he-ass (jack-ass)
DISTINCTION OF SEX INDICATED BY
DISTINCT 'WORDS :-
(Where a common form exists, it is
bullock, ox, steer
monk, friar 7
hog, swine, pig
foal (also colt)
l The masc. is here formed from the fem.; the suffix
groom, 0. E. guma, meaning " man," i.e. " the bride's
2 Only in these two words is the fem. form used as
common. So in compounds, eider-duck, wild-duck;
solan-goose. Gander and goose are not strictly
distinct words, the masculine being formed from the
3 Shortened from grandfather, grandmother.
4 Lass, probably a contraction of lad-ess.
5 Lady, etymologically feminine of lord, by inflexion.
6 Woman, i.e. wife-man (Germ. weib).
7 Friar, i.e. brother.
8 Nephew, niece, from Lat. nepos, neptis, through the
9 Only used in speaking of the parentage of animals.
10 Wizard: 0. E. wisa, a wise man: witch, a sorceress.
Note. A few foreign masculines and feminines,
occasionally used in English, may be added:
beau, belle; monsieur, madam, mademoiselle.
Common objects without life are often
personified, and the Nouns denoting them are then
treated as masculine or as feminine. Thus the Sun is
usually spoken of as he; and the Moon (also a ship or a
balloon) as she; while the names of the planets
(Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter) are masculine or
feminine according to their sex in mythology.
Moreover in poetry and rhetoric many other
inanimate things and qualities are personified and
treated either as masculine or as feminine. Thus in
Collins's " Ode on the Passions," Fear, Anger, Despair,
are masculine; and Hope, Melancholy, Cheerfulness,
feminine. So Heaven, Time, Death, Summer, Winter,
Autumn, are often masculine; and Spring, Poetry,
Sculpture, Astronomy, Art, Nature, feminine.
Note. 1. This usage gives English an advantage over
most other languages in the poetical and rhetorical
style: for when nouns naturally neuter are converted
into masculine or feminine, the personification is more
" A thousand years their cloudy wings expand
Around me, and a dying glory smiles
O'er the fair times, when many a subject land
Looked to the winged Lion's marble piles
Where Venice sat in state, throned on HER hundred
(Childe Harold, Iv.)
" Freedom, driven from every spot on the Continent, has
sought an asylum in a country which she always chose for
her favourite abode; but the is pursued even here and
threatened with destruction." (Robert Hall.)
Note. 2. In the earliest form of English, as in
Latin, Greek, French, &c., the names of many
things without life are masculine or feminine; as,
sunne (sun), fem.', mona, (moon), masc.; tunge
(tongue), fem. These artificial genders would probably
have remained in force till now, had it not been for
the influence of the Norman Conquest; which gave so
violent a shock to the language as to obliterate many
of its characteristic features.
Number ...Previous Gender by sex.
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Gender of Nouns
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