Noun gender: masculine or feminine

Nouns can be either masculine or feminine. Some nouns have both masculine and feminine forms, and other nouns can only be one or the other.

il gatto () la gatta ()

the cat (♂) → the cat (♀)

il dolore (

the pain (♂) 

Generally, the nouns that are masculine are:

  • most nouns that end in -o.

il gatto; il libro; il cugino

the cat; the book; the cousin

  • the majority of the nouns that end in a consonant (usually foreign words adopted into Italian).

il radar; il bar; il microchip

the radar; the bar; the microchip

  • a small number of nouns that end in -a, especially those ending in -amma or -ma, which are linked to the fields of science and technology.

il problema; l'eritema; l'asma; il cinema; il clima; il fondotinta; il dramma

the problem; the rash; asthma; the movie theater; the climate; the foundation (as in make-up); the drama/the play

  • the names of months and days (apart from la domenica, Sunday).

il lunedì; il venerdì; il sabato; il mese di agosto; il mese di dicembre

Monday; Friday; Saturday; the month of August; the month of December

Generally, the nouns that are feminine are:

  • most nouns that end in -a.

la casa; la pittura; la storia

the house; the picture; the story

  • the nouns that end in -tà and -tù.

la cit; la veri; la vir; la schiavi

the city; the truth; virtue; slavery

  • most nouns that end in -si or -li.

l'analisi; la sintesi; la metropoli

the analysis; the synthesis; the metropolis

  • a small number of nouns that end in -o, which are mostly abbreviations of longer nouns, apart from the noun la mano (the hand).

la fotografia → la foto; la motocicletta → la moto; l'automobile → l'auto

the photograph → the photo; the motorcycle → the motorcycle; the automobile → the car

Nouns that end in -e may be masculine or feminine. It's not possible to tell just from the ending, so you must learn the gender of each noun.

la narice (); il giudice (); l'animale (); l'arte ()

the nostril (♀); the judge (♂); the animal (♂); art (♀)


  • Some nouns are invariable, so they don't change based on if they are being used as masculine or feminine. These nouns often end in -ista, -ota, -eta or -ante.

il/la giornalista; l'insegnante; il/la cantante; il/la pilota; l'atleta

the journalist; the teacher; the singer; the pilot; the athlete

  • Some nouns have completely different forms for the masculine and the feminine.

l'uomo → la donna; il cane → la cagna; il marito → la moglie; il fratello → la sorella

the man → the woman; the (male) dog → the (female) dog; the husband → the wife; the brother → the sister

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