Tagged Questions

Questions regarding the grammatical gender of English words.

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8
votes
13answers
4k views

Gender-neutral alternative to “craftsmanship”?

It's straightforward to refer to a "craftsperson" instead of a "craftsman" if one doesn't want to imply a gender. But "craftspersonship", "sportspersonship", and the like seem pretty cumbersome. Is ...
14
votes
9answers
2k views

Is the genderless pronoun “they” appropriate and grammatical for a non-binary gender? [duplicate]

I recently had somebody tell me that a mutual friend of ours who is genderqueer prefers that people refer to him/her using the gender-indefinite pronoun they. In some cases, this almost seems okay: ...
2
votes
2answers
102 views

How to ask a mixed-gender group for their participation?

This question deals with the use of y’all in written vs. spoken English, gender neutrality and group dynamics. I often find myself writing emails to a group of both men and women asking if they ...
0
votes
0answers
31 views

Female or Male pronouns matter in this case? [duplicate]

As far as I understand, English nouns do not have a 'gender' so to speak - when I say the word 'manager' I may be referring to a woman or to a man, one cannot infer the gender just by hearing the ...
0
votes
0answers
82 views

Is it polite to say 'thank you guys' if both genders were involved? [duplicate]

Related: Is "guy" gender-neutral? Discussion about more formal version: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1620575 Thank you (thank you guys)
2
votes
2answers
57 views

The feminine of “He was a leading man of letters”

"William Shakespeare was a leading man of letters". What if we are talking about Florence Margaret Smith. Miss Smith was a leading...... Would you, native speakers, say "woman" ?
50
votes
12answers
5k views

A way of describing the lesbian parent that is not pregnant?

A friend of mine is in a long term relationship with her female partner. After deciding they wanted a family, my friend's girlfriend got pregnant. Normally when talking about a couple expecting a ...
1
vote
2answers
89 views

Is 'liege' masculine?

'Liege' seems to most often refer to a man. Is that because most lords in history and fiction are men, or because 'liege' is a masculine noun? If the latter, is there a feminine counterpart?
5
votes
4answers
167 views

Etymology of “manhole”

I don't think man stands for male here, I think it stands for human—it is a humanhole. Does it have this name because its purpose is to provide access to the sewer for men?
7
votes
3answers
311 views

Gender neutral term for “maiden name”?

The term "maiden name" is only used to describe the name that a woman had before marriage, and as such, is not gender neutral. However, it occasionally occurs that a man will take his partner's last ...
3
votes
3answers
554 views

Which is more correct: gender or sex? [duplicate]

I've always used "gender" when I want to talk about whether a person is male or female. But I came across this comment on a similar question here: Correct usage is "sex" for humans and other ...
4
votes
2answers
437 views

Is there a gender-neutral prefix for “parent”?

The prefixes "patr-" and "matr-" refer, respectively, to father and mother--e.g., a patriarch is a father who rules a family, and a matrilineal society is one where property is passed from mother to ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Can a female proprietor be called as “proprietor”?

I know the female version of proprietor can be called as proprietress or proprietrix. But I want to know whether a female proprietor can also be called a proprietor? Or does proprietor only indicate ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

What do you say when you don't know someone's gender? [duplicate]

For example, I want to refer to someone on the internet, but I don't know this person's gender. Which personal-pronoun do I use? (as article I mean he, she, it, etc)
0
votes
1answer
87 views

How do I pluralise a word that has a masculine and feminine singlar forms, for a mixed group?

This may be an ill-defined question since it arose from trying to pluralise a word that has come from French, I wanted to pluralise a pair flaneurs of different genders. Flaneur comes from the French ...
4
votes
1answer
258 views

“Motherland” vs. “fatherland”

What are the different connotations of motherland and fatherland? NOAD defines both as "a person's native country," though it adds "esp. when referred to in patriotic terms" for fatherland. The words, ...
7
votes
3answers
414 views

Gendered terms — particularly female — becoming neutral?

I have been hearing that many gendered terms are simply being absorbed into the masculine equivalent, while many other words are retaining their usage. A few examples are the terms "actress" becoming ...
0
votes
2answers
153 views

What's the neutral measurement unit for masculine and feminine?

When we want to know how tall or how short someone is, we can query for his tallness, shortness, or height (neutral measurement unit). Is there such a neutral measurement unit for the adjectives ...
6
votes
2answers
538 views

Is “woman” really interchangable with “female” as an adjective?

I listen to BBC Radio 4 a fair bit. They pretty much always use "woman" as opposed to "female" - like "a woman pilot". To me this just sounds completely wrong, and most stuff I can find online about ...
14
votes
14answers
3k views

Feminine equivalent for Casanova [duplicate]

Is there a feminine equivalent for "Casanova" without negative connotations?
4
votes
5answers
600 views

Is there a female or gender-neutral equivalent to the colloquial “man”?

I don't know how to define the usage of man I'm talking about*, so I'll do it with examples: Hey, man, what's up? C'mon, man, don't make me do this. Is there a female or gender-neutral ...
2
votes
1answer
319 views

Female equivalent for “wet dreams”? [closed]

As I understand, the term wet dreams applies only to masculine gender? Then, unless it's unisex in nature, is there a specific term applicable to feminine gender?
7
votes
2answers
1k views

What happened to word gender in English?

I know English is a Germanic language and I know at least the German language still has genders — three of them in fact — masculine, feminine, neuter. So did the English nouns and ...
-3
votes
4answers
291 views

What’s the male equivalent of “menopause”? [closed]

If women go through men-o-pause, do men go through women-o-pause? Is there an etymological equivalent? What is the antonymic Greek word to meno- (or rather, to μηνο-)? There might be a medical ...
6
votes
4answers
421 views

Term for security checkpoints separated by sex

In some places, a security checkpoint has two areas, one for checking men, and another for checking women. I'm looking for the term which describes this segregation by sex. This would be the opposite ...
4
votes
3answers
269 views

“à la” + masculine

I'd like to say I'm baking a cake à la Ramsey. Here, à la means in the style of. My problem is: what if Ramsey is male? The French la goes with feminine nouns. So, should I write the following? ...
4
votes
1answer
390 views

Do vocal pitch and timbre differ by accent?

Guys from the UK and India seem to have higher-pitched voices than Americans. Similarly, I have heard comments from Japanese-American women that they make an effort to lower their voices when speaking ...
0
votes
1answer
186 views

Pronouns and declension for merged/hermaphroditic entities

I have a pair of friends who since entering into a relationship have become rather disgustingly effusive and clingy, to the point where people around them have begun referring them an 'it' [singular], ...
1
vote
0answers
47 views

Addressing someone with no specified gender [duplicate]

How do you address someone whose gender is not specified, when you are writing something? Take this as an example: The teacher said we should go; ____ said we are good pupils. Would you insert ...
3
votes
1answer
919 views

Default gender for pronouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is using “he” for a gender-neutral third-person correct? I’m sure this is a duplicate, but I've heard that when the gender is unknown you are to use he instead of he or ...
4
votes
1answer
754 views

What is the origin of “-ix” as a feminine variation?

Some words are made feminine by altering the suffix to be -ix. Examples: dominator → dominatrix executor → executrix rector → rectrix What is the origin of this variation? From my 5 years of ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

Do words for male animals include those which are castrated?

English has distinct words for the male and female of many common animal species. For example, we have bull / cow, rooster / hen, ram / ewe, stallion / mare, boar / sow, man / woman. However, we ...
5
votes
2answers
692 views

Plural of “Animus/Anima”

What is the plural of the words “animus” and “anima”? In any context (literary, Jung psychology, apothecary etc.). Is there English v. Latin differences? Interwebs are no help: versions differ from ...
1
vote
0answers
30 views

how to refer a person with indefined sex? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? the title is a little confuse because i don't know how to explain in one line... ...
0
votes
2answers
195 views

“Layman” and gender equality

Is it correct to write: He wants to explain X concept to the layman, not before warning him ... Or should I write: He wants to explain X concept to the layman, not before warning him or her ...
4
votes
1answer
874 views

What is the word for nouns with gender-specific forms?

Thought I would try a question with visual aid.* The image below shows Claire Danes, "Actor", in a kiosk poster for the Met. The variation in usage between actor and actress for female thespians is ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

Personal pronouns for animals

In my native language German, every animal has an article. This is understandable, if one wants for example to distinguish a male pig (boar) from a female pig (sow). But if one just talks about the ...
1
vote
0answers
83 views

Identifying the implied gender of nouns [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Referring to objects as “she” English officially does not have genders like German or other languages; for example, a chair is an it, not a he or she. ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

She/he to refer a user [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Reason for the current trend to use «she» as the gender-neutral pronoun? Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular ...
0
votes
5answers
5k views

Origin of 'fairer sex'

I've seen the term 'the fairer sex' being used in a number of areas to refer to females. How did they get that title? What does 'fairer' refer to in this case?
-2
votes
1answer
316 views

What does “incognita” mean? [closed]

American Heritage Dictionary reads: incognita adv & adj, with one’s identity disguised or concealed. Used of a woman; n, A woman or girl whose identity is disguised or concealed. ...
4
votes
5answers
721 views

Using “she” with gender-neutral nouns

The song “Frozen” from Madonna’s Ray of Light (1998) contains the lyrics: Love is a bird, she needs to fly, Let all the hurt inside of you die. Does she refer to bird or love? And why is it ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Gender-neutral Forms

What is the unisex form of a word like fisherman? Do you have to use fisherman and fisherwoman separately, or is fisherperson acceptable? I couldn’t find a dictionary with the word … In general, what ...
29
votes
6answers
3k views

A word that says a person is both female and your friend

It's often confusing for me to talk about my friends, especially my female friends. This is because in Dutch there are words for both male ("vriend") and female ("vriendin") friends. In English ...
1
vote
0answers
208 views

Unisex slang for “man” [closed]

In slang, one can use the generic "man", to describe his conversant. For instance: Man, it's sure hot here this season How can I express that for a woman I'm talking with?
1
vote
4answers
18k views

Can I use “you guys” when it includes gals? [Northeast USA] [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is “guy” gender-neutral? I'm in the Northeast USA. I'm about to email 3 people, 2 are women It is ok to say "I thought you guys would find this ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Difference in male vs female use of the English language

Is there a somewhat reliable (like, for example 70% success rate) way to determine whether a paragraph in the English language was written by a man or a woman (adult male/female)? Any credible ...
13
votes
2answers
733 views

Is “so” more feminine than “very”?

Many Japanese textbooks of English mention the "feminine 'so'": the use of "so" for "very" is more typical of a feminine speaker. I don't think this is true in the US (I learned English living in ...
0
votes
2answers
175 views

Why are “player”, “researcher” and “designer” referred to by a feminine gender specific pronoun? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Can the feminine pronouns be gender-neutral? Reason for the current trend to use "she" as the gender-neutral pronoun? In a lot of academic literature that I'm reading ...
5
votes
1answer
160 views

Why do newspapers use the terms “women voters” and “women candidates”?

I've noticed that when discussing political demographics or candidates, many reporters use the phrases "women voters" and "women candidates". This feels horribly awkward grammatically. It's hard to ...