Questions regarding the grammatical gender of English words.

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1
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2answers
104 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
4answers
564 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?
4
votes
1answer
356 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
votes
1answer
151 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
97 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How to avoid sexist language?

I have observed that I use a lot of sexist terms; it comes naturally to me! I have resolved to be "perfectly" non-sexist from now onwards. I would like to know how to avoid sexist language. Yes, ...
3
votes
2answers
5k 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
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5answers
520 views

Should the common usage “Webmasters” be gender neutered into a separate webmistresses to describe female web site admin professionals?

Should the common usage "Webmasters" be gender neutered into a separate webmistresses to describe female web site admin professionals? Specifically why do we really need a term like web mistresses? ...
3
votes
3answers
150 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 ...
18
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3answers
16k views
133
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19answers
32k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
570 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 ...
13
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
881 views

Avoiding the use of “the reader”?

I'm writing a response essay to Medieval Women's Visionary writings that possess power. In this essay I'm supposed to explain how two writers, that I've picked to write about, possess or don't possess ...
2
votes
1answer
72 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 ...
0
votes
6answers
8k 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?
12
votes
5answers
530 views

When referring to a noun, when does the gender matter?

In most languages, gender plays a much more important role than in English. Nevertheless, it is possible to refer to a noun using its gender. The ship was launched on 4 October 1853. Tayleur left ...
20
votes
12answers
7k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
1
vote
3answers
294 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
928 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 ...
0
votes
0answers
154 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?'
5
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
41 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
366 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 ...
0
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4answers
230 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
142 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
votes
3answers
192 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
379 views

Is it acceptable to write “(wo)man”?

I just read this: It’s a (wo)man’s world out there. Is this an accepted approach to gender-neutral language, or is it just used when humor is intended?
0
votes
2answers
147 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
175 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 ...
12
votes
6answers
4k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
156k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
8k views

Where does “Santa” in Santa Claus come from?

Santa Claus is a man, right? In this case, he may not be fine with the fact that people call him Santa, which is the Spanish and Portuguese word for female saint names. For example, Santa Barbara and ...
8
votes
4answers
26k views

Should I use “his/her” or “its”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicates: Gender neutral pronoun Is it correct to use “their” instead of “his or her”? I am writing software documentation. I have this issue: I am ...
1
vote
0answers
49 views

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

Possible Duplicate: Is there a correct gender-neutral, singular pronoun (“his” versus “her” versus “their”)? The title is a little confused because I don't know how to explain in one line, ...
3
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
88 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 ...
23
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 ...
13
votes
3answers
801 views

Why use the term “Sister sites” instead of “Brother sites”?

This came up recently on programmers.SE, when someone (a Russian, presumably non-native English speaker) asked why we used the term "sister sites", instead of "brother sites". Of course, I'm a native ...
24
votes
15answers
10k 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
934 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
247 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 ...
13
votes
9answers
5k 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
239 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 ...
16
votes
5answers
32k 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", ...
14
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13answers
6k views

Feminine equivalent for Casanova [duplicate]

Is there a feminine equivalent for "Casanova" without negative connotations?
0
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0answers
36 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
1answer
431 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. ...
9
votes
2answers
11k 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? ...