Masculine Nouns

Masculine nouns
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Noms masculins

There’s no simple trick to knowing the gender of every single French noun (other than looking in a dictionary), but there are several categories of words that are always or usually masculine.


Le calendrier is masculine, as are all days of the week, months of the year, and seasons:

  • lundi – Monday
  • janvier – January
  • printemps – spring

Une date is feminine, but the dates themselves are always masculine.

  • le 8 mai
  • le 15 octobre
  • le premier janvier


La couleur is feminine, but all colors are masculine when used as stand-alone nouns.

  • bleu – blue
  • jaune – yellow
  • rouge – red

However, when the color is replacing a noun, it has to agree: Tu préfères la chemise verte ou bleue ? La verte.


La boisson is feminine, but most drinks are masculine.

  • le café – coffee
  • le jus – juice
  • le thé – tea

Exceptions: la citronnade (lemonade), la limonade (lemon soda)

English Imports

Most English words used in French are masculine

  • le challenge
  • le parking
  • le week-end


Any food that doesn’t end in -e is masculine.

  • le haricot – bean
  • le maïs – corn
  • le thon – tuna
  • There are also a few masculine foods that do end in -e: le beurre, le blé, le concombre, le fromage, le pamplemousse, le poivre

Most names of cheeses are masculine:

  • le brie
  • le comté
  • le roquefort

Notable exceptions: la feta, la fourme, la mimolette, la mozzarella, la ricotta, la tomme

Gems, Metals, Minerals, Rocks, and Stones

Le métal and le minéral are masculine, as are all metals:

  • acier – steel
  • or – gold
  • plomb – lead

and most minerals:

  • le gypse – gypsum
  • le mica – mica
  • le sel – salt

Exceptions: l’argile (clay), la fluorite (fluorite), les pyrites (pyrite), la silice (silica)

La gemme, la pierre, and la roche are feminine, but most gems, stones, and rocks are masculine:

  • diamant – diamond
  • marbre – marble
  • charbon – coal

Exceptions: une émeraude (emerald), une perle (pearl)


All countries that don’t end in -e are masculine.

  • l’Iran
  • le Mali
  • les États-Unis
  • As are six that do end in -e: le Belize, le Cambodge, le Mexique, le Mozambique, le Zaïre, le Zimbabwe

All rivers that don’t end in -e are masculine:

  • le Lot
  • le Rhin
  • le Tarn
  • As is le Rhône.

All compass directions are masculine:

  • nord – north
  • ouest – west
  • sud-est – southeast


All infinitives are masculine when used as nouns.

  • le devoir – duty
  • le pouvoir – power
  • le sourire – smile


Though the word langue is feminine, all languages are masculine:

  • le français – French
  • le japonais – Japanese
  • le russe – Russian


Une lettre is feminine, but letters of the alphabet are masculine, such as when talking about the grades on a report card:

  • le "a" (not l’a)
  • le "b"
  • le "c"


Le chiffre, le nombre, and le numéro are all masculine, as are most numbers.

Exceptions: une moitié and approximate numbers like une dizaine


L’arbre is masculine, as are nearly all trees:

  • un chêne – oak tree
  • un oranger – orange tree
  • un palmier – palm tree

Exception: une aubépine (hawthorn tree)

Weights and Measures

La mesure is feminine, but le poids and nearly all weights and measures are masculine.

  • gramme – gram
  • litre – liter
  • mètre – meter

Exceptions: une moitié (half), une poignée (handful), une cuillerée (spoonful), and other approximate measures with -ée


Le vin is masculine, as are all wines

  • le champagne
  • le chardonnay
  • le pinot noir
Quiz: Gender

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Masculine French nouns
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