German Gender Hints
German Noun Gender: Feminine - DIE
RULE NO. 1: When learning a German noun, always treat its article as an integral part of the word! Not Wasser, but das Wasser. Not Hund, but der Hund. However, it can be very helpful to know about the gender generalizations below.
These German gender hints are divided into two main categories: "Always" (no or few exceptions to the rule) and "Usually" (some exceptions). One more important gender rule to remember: in compound nouns, the last word determines the gender (as in die Geburt + der Ort = der Geburtsort, birthplace).
WEIBLICH - die (pron. DEE)
Always FEMININE (die/eine):
- Nouns ending in the following suffixes: -heit, -keit, -tät, -ung, -schaft - Examples: die Freiheit, Schnelligkeit, Universität, Zeitung, Freundschaft (freedom, quickness, university, newspaper, friendship). Note that these suffixes usually have a corresponding English suffix, such as -ness (-heit, -keit), -ty (-tät), -ship (-schaft).
- Nouns ending in -ie: Drogerie, Geographie, Komödie, Industrie, Ironie (often equal to words ending in -y in English)
- Names of aircraft, ships and motorbikes: die Boeing 747, die Titanic, die BMW (motorbike only; the car is der BMW). The die comes from die Maschine, which can mean plane, motorbike and engine. - Helpful reminder: Ships are often referred to as "she" in English.
- Nouns ending in -ik: die Grammatik, Grafik, Klinik, Musik, Panik, Physik - But see German Noun Suffixes and Gender for some exceptions!
- Borrowed (foreign) nouns ending in: -ade, -age, -anz, -enz, -ette, -ine, -ion, -tur: Parade, Blamage (shame), Bilanz, Distanz, Frequenz, Serviette (napkin), Limonade, Nation, Konjunktur (economic trend). Note: Such words often resemble their English equivalent. A rare -ade exception: der Nomade.
- Cardinal numbers: eine Eins, eine Drei (a one, a three)
Usually FEMININE (die/eine):
- Nouns ending in -in that pertain to female people, occupations, nationalities: Amerikanerin, Studentin (female American, student), but der Harlekin and also many non-people words: das Benzin, der Urin (gasoline/petrol, urine).
- Most nouns ending in -e: Ecke, Ente, Grenze, Pistole, Seuche (corner, duck, border, pistol, epidemic), but der Deutsche, das Ensemble, der Friede, der Junge ([the] German, ensemble, peace, boy)
- Nouns ending in -ei: Partei, Schweinerei (party [political], dirty trick/mess), but das Ei, der Papagei (egg, parrot).
- Most types of flowers and trees: Birke, Chrysantheme, Eiche, Rose (birch, chrysanthemum, oak, rose), but der Ahorn, (maple), das Gänseblümchen (daisy), and the word for tree is der Baum
- Borrowed (foreign) nouns ending in -isse, -itis, -ive: Hornisse, Initiative (hornet, initiative)
German Gender Hints
An article by your Guide with helpful tips and examples to help you get der, die and das right.
German Noun Suffixes and Gender
More gender clues for German! How noun endings can predict gender, with a special noun-suffix glossary.
German Gender Quiz 1
Take our self-scoring quiz to test your mastery of noun genders.
German Gender Quiz 2
Version two of our self-scoring quiz to test your mastery of noun genders.
World Rivers in German
A selection of rivers around the globe in German and English - with genders. From your Guide.
All of our annotated English-German glossaries.
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