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
|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, divorcée, fiancée, mother, mom, mum, 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 loans||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 né. 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.