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  English Grammar: Nouns Gender Sex

Video: Gender of Nouns

THE GENDER IN COMMON NOUNS DISTINGUISHED BY A WORD SIGNIFICANT OF SEX.

Common. Masculine. Feminine.
ass 
bear
bird
calf
elephant



fox
goat
pig
rabbit
servant


sparrow
he-ass (jack-ass) 
he-bear
cock-bird (male-bird)
bull-calf
bull-elephant (male-elephant)


dog-fox
he-goat
boar-pig
buck-rabbit
man-servant
 (male-servant)

cock-sparrow
she-ass
she-bear
hen-bird (female-bird)
cow-calf
cow-elephant (female-elephant)


bitch-fox
she-goat 
sow-pig
doe-rabbit
maid-servant (female-servant)

hen-sparrow. 

DISTINCTION OF SEX INDICATED BY DISTINCT 'WORDS :-

(Where a common form exists, it is supplied.)

Masculine.

Feminine.

Common

bachelor
boar
boy
bridegroom
brother
buck
hart
stag 
bull
bullock, ox, steer
cock
colt
dog
drake
drone
earl
father
gaffer
gander
gentleman
horse, stallion
husband
king
lad
lord
man
monk, friar 7
nephew
papa
ram
sire
sloven
son
uncle
wizard10

maid, spinster
sow
girl
bride 1
sister
doe
roe
hind 
cow
heifer
hen
filly
bitch
duck 2
bee
countess
mother
gammer 3
goose 2
lady
mare
wife
queen 
lass 4
lady 5
woman 6
nun
niece 8
momma
ewe
dam 9
slut
daughter
aunt
witch


hog, swine, pig
child, youth

sibling
deer
deer
deer
ox, neat
ox, neat
fowl
foal (also colt)
dog, hound
duck
bee

parent

goose

horse
spouse (poet.)
sovereign


man



sheep


child 

 NOTES.-

l The masc. is here formed from the fem.; the suffix groom, 0. E. guma, meaning " man," i.e. " the bride's man."
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 feminine.
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 French.
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 distinctly marked.

  • " 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 isles."
    (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.

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