Questions regarding the grammatical gender of English words.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

7
votes
3answers
355 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
57k views

What is the male equivalent of “mistress” in formal English?

The mistress definition, Oxford dictionary a woman having an extramarital sexual relationship, esp. with a married man I am looking for the male equivalent of 'mistress' as defined above. Some ...
15
votes
3answers
16k views

Why is a woman a “widow” and a man a “widower”?

There are lots of words that have male and female forms, and usually there are alternate suffixes to the words which indicate the gender; for example, "waiter" vs. "waitress", "mister" vs. "mistress", ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

On the specifics of illegitimate children

Is there a feminine form of the word bastard? It seems like bastard is a word that’s applied to male children only.
7
votes
1answer
212 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
237 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? ...
5
votes
4answers
85 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?
2
votes
2answers
54 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" ?
4
votes
5answers
471 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 ...
15
votes
15answers
2k views

Feminine equivalent for Casanova [duplicate]

Is there a feminine equivalent for "Casanova" without negative connotations?
49
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
15k views

Is there a feminine equivalent of “emasculate”?

e·mas·cu·late Deprive (a man) of his male role or identity Is there a female equivalent? I came up with efemulate but this sounds strange.
6
votes
2answers
388 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
66 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?
9
votes
2answers
5k views

Female Actor or Actress

I've recently noticed the word actor used for female actresses in the Indian print media. I have a few questions : a) Is this the correct usage of the word? b) Is this an international phenomenon? ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

Are there sentences in languages which use grammatical gender that lose meaning when translated into English?

English nouns which don't denote people or animals with natural gender do not (apart from a few rare examples) use grammatical gender. So for example, "table" is always an "it" in English, whereas it ...
3
votes
3answers
378 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the gender of an aircraft?

I know that a ship is always referred using "she", but what about aircraft? What should we use when we're referring to aircraft? Is it the same for automobile?
3
votes
2answers
196 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
1k 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 ...
112
votes
18answers
17k views

What is a feminine version of 'guys'?

I commonly use the word 'guys' to refer to a group of males colloquially. It's colloquial but not rude, off putting, condescending, patronizing (though I wouldn't use it with a group of men at a board ...
3
votes
2answers
1k 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
75 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
9k views

Is it a good practice to refer to countries, ships etc using the feminine form?

While talking about ships and countries, is it a good practice to use the feminine form? For example: "Her economy" - while referring to a country's economy "Her flag (or deck etc)" - while ...
19
votes
1answer
4k views

Why don't English nouns have grammatical gender?

English nouns — other than those with natural gender, e.g. people or animals — do not generally have grammatical gender, and so are referred to as 'it' rather than 'he' or 'she'. However, modern ...
4
votes
1answer
222 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, ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

A man's breast vs. a woman's breasts

Why is it that breast is used when referring to a man's chest, but breasts is used for a woman's? Could breast also mean a woman's chest, or do breasts have to be used when referring to a woman's ...
34
votes
7answers
45k views

Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”?

Is this sentence grammatically correct? Anyone who loves the English language should have a copy of this book in their bookcase. or should it be: Anyone who loves the English language should ...
0
votes
2answers
135 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Is the word “women's” a typo?

My browser's spellcheck says it is, but I can't figure out why. Is Firefox sexist?
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 ...
5
votes
3answers
4k views

Should I use “authoress” for a feminine author?

Often I come across the term "female author" rather than "authoress". Which is the correct usage? "Female author" sounds wrong to me as other words that end in "-or" take a sex.
2
votes
1answer
274 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
933 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
231 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
406 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
115 views

Gender question [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Speaking about someone of unknown gender… Gender neutral pronoun I'm writing a paper about markets and mention several times providers and their offers. The ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
786 views

Speaking about someone of unknown gender [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Gender neutral pronoun For example, user clicked the button. I don't know if the user is male or female, what gender should I use? Now I read a book, where the user is ...
0
votes
1answer
978 views

Generic way for writing about person without knowing his/her gender [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? Is there generic way to write something ...
4
votes
1answer
307 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
165 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], ...
6
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
192 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
715 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
762 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 ...
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 ...
17
votes
2answers
8k views
5
votes
1answer
158 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
599 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 ...