A 99% Fool-Proof Way To Determine The Gender Of Irish Nouns!

Irish gender is all in the spelling!


Words where the last vowel is slender are usually feminine. For example;

An chistin, an teilifís

As well as ones that are describe females are always feminine just like most languages.

An bhean, An bhó

Also, countries and languages are NEARLY always feminine.

An Ghaeilge, An Spáinnis

Common exceptions; An mhuc, an bainne, an t-uisce are masculine.


The opposite is true for masculine nouns, they usually end in a broad vowel.

An teach, an madra

Common exceptions: An luch is feminine

However, nouns with these endings are

very likely masculine:

-án -ín -úr -ún -as -ar -(ái)ste -óir/-eoir -aire -éara -aí -adh -amh -a (with two syllables, e.g. cóta) -ach (derived from noun, e.g. Éireannach) -cht (with one syllable)

Nouns ending in the following are

very likely feminine

-óig/-eoig -áil -aíl -acht (more than two syllables e.g. Gaeltacht) -ach (mass nouns) -seach

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June 25, 2016


Countries are not always feminine.

June 25, 2016

only a few are male.

April 8, 2018

My counts are that of the 75 countries listed there with a gender, 20 are masculine (26.67%) and 55 are feminine (73.33%). 26.67% is a minority, but 20 of 75 isn’t a few.

EDIT: I’d missed out on Scotland initially (it doesn’t have a declension class listed).

April 8, 2018 This seems to explain it pretty well, but I dont know how accurate it is.

August 28, 2018

Bad example. Cailín is masculine.

June 25, 2016

There's at least two Béarla is masculine.

June 25, 2016

Sorry :(

June 26, 2016


June 26, 2016

I applaud your enthusiasm but there are a number of mistakes.

July 3, 2016

I am having a lot of confusion with what is slender and broad in the first place so I am already sunk. Can anybody help me understand it better so I can understand fem and masculine and then get on to the way those are lenited, etc. (which also confuses me to pieces.)?

August 20, 2019
  • 1191

The vowels a, o and u are broad, while e and i are slender.

Consonants get their broadness or slenderness from the vowels that they are closest to - the s is is slender, the s in is broad.

August 20, 2019
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