Italian feminine nouns

What are the Italian feminine nouns? How do you tell them apart from masculine ones?

Erba
Grass

Casa
House

Giornalista
Journalist

Colore
Color

colored crystal - italian feminine nouns

Learn everything you need to know about them here!


Italian feminine nouns

As you probably already know, Italian nouns can be either masculine or feminine.

Usually, nouns for male people and animals usually are of masculine gender, while nouns for female people and animals are of feminine gender.

Donna and bambina, for example, are feminine.

Donna
Woman

Bambina
Female kid

And uomo and bambino are masculine.

Uomo
Man

Bambino
Male kid

For all other nouns, it’s not nature that defines gender. It’s grammar itself. Most times, you will be able to guess the gender of an Italian noun by its ending letter, making Italian feminine nouns easy to spot. Let’s see why.

little girl smiling

Italian feminine nouns ending in -a

The vast majority of Italian feminine nouns end in -a. Very few masculine nouns end in -a.

Feminine nounEnglish
FinestraWindow
ChiesaChurch
BottigliaBottle
FogliaLeaf
CartaPaper
MascheraMark
LunaMoon

La finestra è aperta.
The window is open.

C’è una bottiglia sul tavolo.
There’s a bottle on the table.

La luna è piena stasera.
The moon is full tonight.

almost full moon

Feminine nouns are commonly preceded by a feminine definite article or a feminine indefinite article in Italian.


Feminine nouns ending in -e

Italian nouns ending in -e can either be masculine or feminine and some of them cannot be told apart.

Tigre
Tiger

Would you be able to say if tigre is masculine or feminine?

In fact, one of the nouns that you’ve seen right at the beginning of this article is a masculine noun: colore.

We say la tigre, with a feminine article, because the noun is feminine.

And we say il colore, with a masculine article, because the noun is masculine.

Other feminine nouns in -e are…

Feminine nounEnglish
LinceLynx
PrigionePrison
ReteNet
ChiaveKey
FameHunger

La prigione è qui vicino.
The prison is nearby.

I pesci cadono nella rete.
The fish fall into the net.

Non trovo la chiave!
I can’t find the key!

grey key

You will have to learn the gender by heart for words in -e that have an unpredictable gender that cannot be inferred by context. Sometimes though, you will be able to guess the correct gender depending on the extended ending of the noun itself.

Let’s see why.


Italian feminine nouns in -essa, -ice and -ina

Nouns that end in -essa, -trice and -ina are usually feminine. These are usually related to jobs.

Masculine nounEnglish
StudentessaFemale student
DottoressaFemale doctor
AttriceActress
AutriceFemale author
ReginaQueen
EroinaHeroine

La studentessa arriva tardi a scuola.
The female student arrives late at school.

Quanti anni ha la regina d’Inghilterra?
How old is the queen of England?

Questa attrice ha recitato in molti film.
This actress has acted in many films.

actress shooting a movie - italian feminine nouns

Job professions in -ista

Words ending in -ista that refer to job professions can be either masculine or feminine depending on the natural gender of the worker.

Take giornalista, for example. It can be a male noun (il giornalista, the male journalist) if you’re talking about a man and a female noun (la giornalista, the female journalist) if you’re addressing a woman.

Masculine nounEnglish
GiornalistaJournalist
BaristaBartender
ArtistaArtist
MusicistaMusician
VelocistaSprinter

La giornalista parla al microfono.
The journalist speaks into the microphone.

L’artista dipinge un quadro.
The artist paints a painting.

woman painting with splashes of color

Italian feminine nouns ending in -ione

Italian nouns ending -ione (-zione) are very often abstract nouns and are feminine.

Feminine nounEnglish
LezioneLesson
EducazioneEducation
AzioneAction
StazioneStation
RiunioneReunion

La lezione comincia alle 10.
The class starts at 10 a.m.

Alle 9 devo essere in stazione.
I have to be at the station at 9 o’clock.

La riunione è stata rimandata a domani.
The meeting was postponed until tomorrow.


Italian feminine nouns in -o

Since -o is the main masculine ending in Italian, you won’t find many feminine nouns ending with this letter. There are very, very few of them.

Feminine nounEnglish
AutoCar
RadioRadio
MotoMotorcycle
PallavoloVolleyball
ManoHand

Ho comprato un’auto elettrica.
I bought an electric car.

Spegni la radio, per favore.
Turn off the radio, please.

Le dita della sua mano sono fredde.
The fingers of his hand are cold.

And that’s it with the Italian feminine nouns! If you still have any doubts, feel free to leave a comment.


What next?

Now that you’ve seen how the Italian feminine nouns work, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Or you might also want an excellent offline Italian grammar resource to take with you at all times (Amazon).

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