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Feminine and Masculine Words in Portuguese

Masculine words

Usually nouns ending in “o” are masculine words. But words ending in “ão” can be either masculine or feminine. Masculine words take the masculine articles.

Examples of masculine words:

  • o medico – the doctor 
  • um garfo – a fork
  • os pratos – the plates

Examples of masculine words ending in “ão”:

  • o coração – the heart
  • o chão – the floor

Examples of feminine words ending in “ão”:

  • a mão – the hand
  • a lição  – the lesson

 

Feminine words

Usually words ending in “a” are feminine and they take the feminine articles. But there are some exceptions, like for example words ending in “ema” or “grama” that are masculine

Examples of femine words:

  • a mesa – the table
  • as cadeiras – the chairs
  • uma cama – a bed

Examples of masculine words ending in “grama” or “ema”:

  • o programa – the program
  • o problema – the problem
  • o sistema – o sistema
  • o poema – o poem

 

 Nouns ending in dade and gem are usually feminine

 Examples:   

  • as cidades – the cities
  • a viagem – the trip
  • a garagem  – the garage

 

Note

Nouns ending in “e” can be either feminine or masculine

Examples:

  • a mente – the mind
  • uma semente – a seed
  • os dentes – the teeth
  • um presente – a gift

 

The feminine of the words

 1.      When a noun ends in “o” >>> You must change the o for “a”

 Examples:

o amigo = a amiga  (Note that the article also changes, since it must agree in gender and number with the noun

o engenheiro (male engineer)  = a engenheira (female engineer)                   

 

2.      When a noun ends in “r” or “s” >>> You just add “a”

Examples:

o autor (male writer) = a autora (female writer)                                                           

o senhor (sir) = a senhora (mrs)

o freguês (male client) = a freguesa (female writer)

 

3.      When a noun ends in “ão” >>> You must  change ão for  “ã” or “oa”

Examples:

O patrão (male boss) = a patroa (female boss)

O irmão (brother) = a irmã (sister)

 

4.      When a noun ends in “e” >>>  the word remains unchanged (but you can know if it is a feminine or a masculine word through the article used).

Examples:

o cliente (male client) = a cliente (female client)

o chefe (male boss)= a chefe (female boss)

 

5.      When a noun ends in  “ista” >>> the word also remains unchanged (but you can know if it is a feminine or a masculine word through the article used)

Examples:

o dentista (male denstist) = a dentista (female dentist)

o motorista (male driver)= a motorista (female driver)

 

Masculine and Feminine forms of some professions: Study in the chart below the masculine and the feminine forms of some professions

 

English

 Masculine

 Feminine

 the boss

o chefe

a chefe

 the physician

o médico

a médica

 the client

o cliente

a cliente

 the lawyer

o advogado

a advogada

 the president

o presidente

a presidente

 the engineer

o engenheiro

a engenheira

 the secretary

o secretário

a secretária

 the architect

o arquiteto

a arquiteta

 the professor

o professor

a professora

 the director

o diretor

a diretora

 the actor

o ator

a atriz

 the poet

o poeta

a poetisa

 the writer

 o escritor

a escritora