Questions regarding the grammatical gender of English words.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

1
vote
4answers
68 views

Gender in “Sun won't show its/his/her face” nowadays

The question concerns the usage of possessive pronouns in phrases like: Sun won't show its/his/her face much today. I saw this sentence using her in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and ...
1
vote
0answers
53 views

Grammatical Gender þe þæt

When the nominative articles for masculine and feminine nouns were exchanged for þe and cases for nouns were lost, it would make sense for masculine and feminine to become a common gender like in ...
0
votes
0answers
48 views

How can I differentiate a gender to word cousin [duplicate]

How can I differentiate the word "cousin" to male and female. Because a time ago I listened this phrase "My cousin cut the hair". When I listened this I couldn't distinguish if reference a male or ...
6
votes
1answer
199 views

Can “female”/“male” be insulting?

If not used when misgendering, making unasked for assumptions about gender or in a hostile context, can usage of the words female/male be insulting? More specifically: can a non-native speaker be ...
2
votes
2answers
48 views

What is the correct pronoun for mixed gender antecedents?

Neither John nor Mary thinks (pronoun?) will lose their race. Probably the best solution for this sentence is to recast it as "Both John and Mary think the other will lose their race," or something ...
0
votes
1answer
74 views

Unmarried Madam

In Spanish there is senora and senorita, in French there is madame and mademoiselle and in English there is mrs and miss. My question is that in English we also have call women "Madam" or "Ma'am" as a ...
4
votes
1answer
89 views

Can verbally female-concerned idioms be used for male cases, (and vice versa)?

The idiom like Caesar's wife is mentioned in the book 1100 words you need to know (Murray Bromberg and Melvin Gordon, 4th edition), and used in the following sentence as an example: Mrs. Drake ...
2
votes
1answer
369 views

What is the female equivalent of “warlock”?

What is the female equivalent of a "warlock"? It seems that other male-only words for paranormal practitioners have female equivalents: Wizard/Witch Sorcerer/Sorceress Enchanter/Enchantress ...
2
votes
2answers
86 views

Terms to Refer to “Malekind” or “Femalekind”

I'm looking for some terms or phrases that could be used to refer to all the males or all the females collectively and exclusively. Something like a gender-specific version of "mankind" (which usually ...
0
votes
2answers
74 views

Feminist 'she' when the action is bad

When the gender of the subject of a sentence is unknown, I sometimes use the feminist she rather than the more common singular they. Now I happen to feel that something is wrong when I use it as ...
5
votes
3answers
495 views

Should I use “him” or “her”?

Which is correct, and why?: If my daughter was born a boy, I would have named her Harry. Or If my daughter was born a boy, I would have named him Harry. I'm sure my reasoning for both is ...
1
vote
2answers
179 views

Referring to someone when you only know their last name

Our company occasionally has to write letters to a third-party in response to a complaint. There are times when we only know the complainant's last name (usually with first initial). Typically, we ...
4
votes
1answer
493 views

Is villain masculine?

In India we generally use heroine as the female counterpart of a hero in a film. Is it grammatically acceptable? Further, is there any feminine counterpart for a villain either in tinsel world or in ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Sun and moon: male or female?

In other languages, the sun and the moon have definite genders: in French and many other romanic languages le soleil (the sun) is male and la lune (the moon) is female. In German and other germanic ...
3
votes
3answers
191 views

In cricket and football is it alright to refer to women as men?

I noticed when I was watching the match between England and Mexico in the Women's Football World Cup the other night, that the commentator would refer to a situation where the attacking side 'had a ...
-1
votes
1answer
535 views

Politically correct substitutes for (fe)male and (wo)man

I assume feminists criticize the English language for the pairs man/woman and male/female, because both look as if one gender or sex was considered a special case for it is denoted by putting an ...
3
votes
1answer
241 views

Can I Switch from “it” to “he” or “she” when referring to an animal in a story? [closed]

This one is a question I can't seem to find an answer for. I do have a friend, a professional editor, who told me she saw no problem with me switching from "it" to "he" or "she" when referring to an ...
1
vote
3answers
545 views

Is English “genderless” or are inanimate nouns just neuter by default?

Some questions on ELU already touch on this subject, and they pose that English does not have grammatical gender which means that most of its inanimate nouns are referred to with it rather than he or ...
22
votes
12answers
12k views

What word means a “male temptress”?

I was trying to describe a man who entices others into making bad decisions. I have several closely related questions: Is it okay in English to refer to a man as a temptress? Is there a uniquely ...
0
votes
0answers
410 views

How to informally address a mixed gender group of people? [duplicate]

How to informally address a mixed gender group of people in the UK? Any alternative to 'guys' in 'would you guys like to do this and that?'
0
votes
1answer
47 views

Gender of “the self” [closed]

I'm editing a paper in which the writer (a native French speaker) refers to "the self" using masculine pronouns (him, his, himself). I would normally use "it" (and its, itself) in this situation. I ...
0
votes
4answers
367 views

Familiar form of address for a young, subordinate, woman that connotes respect (Female equivalent to 'Son')

A(n often male) paternal figure could use the term 'son' in a fatherly way without referring to his biological Son. Imagine a man has been verbally abused by a customer at work. His manger might say ...
0
votes
2answers
170 views

Is 'arrogant' a masculine word? [closed]

I was trying to think of a word to describe a female acquaintance and came up with arrogant, but immediately wanted to discard this as the word itself felt masculine to me. I later settled on ...
1
vote
3answers
235 views

Word for a man who is not gay but wanted to be female? [closed]

I searched this site and can't find a word that expresses my sense that I have always thought I would have been better suited as female, and I am attracted to the opposite sex (so would switch if I ...
0
votes
2answers
209 views

Why are words like “actor” and “waiter” considered male?

What is it about words like "actor" and "waiter" that causes them to be considered male, so that they have female counterparts (i.e. "actress" and "waitress")? Why are they not gender-neutral like ...
2
votes
1answer
325 views

Adjectives that Imply Nouns [closed]

Often we may see adjectives with nouns that are implied, but not explicitly written. I see this mostly with sports team names and demonyms. For example: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish Is "Irish" a ...
5
votes
1answer
604 views

Terms for “natural gender” and “grammatical gender”

This post is partly inspired by previous posts, such as this one, on non-existence of grammatical gender in English. My question is mainly about what "natural gender" and "grammatical gender" are to ...
12
votes
6answers
5k views

Is the “female” in “female cousin” redundant here?

"My female cousin working for a finance company was dismissed. Disappeared along with her job were her confidence and smiling face." There is a very complicated system in Chinese for naming ...
8
votes
2answers
103 views

In the American regionalism “Put 'er there, pardner!” why is the hand a she?

In the American regionalism Put 'er there, pardner! (i.e. Let's shake hands) why 'er ? P.S. When someone is manipulating equipment, such as a crane or a hoist, to move a heavy load, someone ...
0
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are there no male or female terms for cousins in English? [duplicate]

In general English doesn't seem to cater well for identifying relationships between people, and the classic example seems to be the term 'cousin' because you can't really work out whether it is ...
5
votes
1answer
371 views

Is there an explicitly male version of “craftsman/craftsmanship”?

This is somewhat of a fringe question, I’m sure, but the recent question asking for a gender-neutral of craftsmanship thread got me thinking. Since the suffix ‑man has become something of a ...
24
votes
15answers
12k 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 ...
15
votes
9answers
6k 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: ...
3
votes
2answers
305 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
40 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
78 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" ?
51
votes
12answers
6k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
921 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?
4
votes
4answers
844 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
4answers
685 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k 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
5k 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
9k 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
159 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
585 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, ...
9
votes
3answers
857 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
244 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
1k 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
13answers
9k views

Feminine equivalent for Casanova [duplicate]

Is there a feminine equivalent for "Casanova" without negative connotations?