Feminine

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Feminine (/femɪnɪn/) is a grammatical gender and noun class.

In English, a feminine noun always belongs to the personal gender, never the impersonal gender, and within the personal gender contrasts with masculine. Most people who are referred to using feminine nouns are biologically female, though many are not. Feminine nouns are also often used to refer to female animals. The feminine pronouns in English are "she", "her", "hers" and "herself" and all these third person singular, there are no equivalents for the third person plural or other grammatical persons, rather common gender pronouns are used instead.

Examples of feminine nouns in English

Type Examples
Personal names Ruth, Samantha, Victoria, etc, etc, etc
Nouns for describing people girl, lady, woman
Noun phrase with a feminine noun modifier "girl guide", "woman doctor", etc
Family-related nouns aunt, daughter, fiancée, mother, niece, sister, spinster, widower, wife
Demonyms Dutchwoman, Englishwoman, Filipina, Frenchwoman, Irishwoman, Latina, Manxwoman, Scotswoman, Welshwoman, Yorkshirewoman
Gendered job titles actress, seamstress, waitress, compounds with -woman (e.g. policewoman, saleswoman, etc)
Aristocratic ranks baroness, countess, duchess, empress, lady, marchioness, princess, queen, viscountess
Female animals bitch, cow, dam, doe, ewe, filly, hen, leopardess, lioness, mare, pen, queen, sow, tigress, vixen
Latin loanwords alumna(e), professor(s) emerita(e),


Gender-neutral language, which uses the common gender to cover feminine, masculine and non-binary is preferred by many especially in formal registers of contemporary English. This is less common however in historical English.

Unlike many other languages, English does not generally have gender concord whereby other words must agree with the gender of the noun. English does not generally therefore have gendered adjectives. A notable exception is the French loanword née, literally meaning "born" but used to denote a name given at birth, which has feminine form née and the masculine form . The masculine form is much less common than the feminine form due to the traditional Western custom of a woman taking her husband's surname upon marriage.