Unisex Nouns

French unisex nouns
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Noms Ă  double genre

One of the first – and possibly worst – things French students learn is that all nouns have a gender, either masculine or feminine. The good news is more than 100* can be either – though they may tend toward one gender or the other.

FrançaisEnglishNotes
accoreshore prop or beam used as support
achélempublic housing see HLM, below
acméacme, peak
afterafter partyusually masculine
alvéolealveolus, cellusually feminine
amazoneAmazon parrot  
ammodytesand viper  
après-midi
aprèm, aprème
 
afternoon 
apocopes
aréna, arenaarenaCanadian term
autoroutehighway 
avant-guerrepre-war years 
azalĂ©eazalea 
   
balaneacorn barnacle 
bastonfight, punch-upfamiliar
bilig
billig
crĂŞpe makerappliance
break
breakdance
break dance
break danse
break dancing
butternutbutternut squash aka le doubeurre
    
calzonecalzone  
carpocapsecodling moth
chaintreheadlandagricultural term
chistéra
chistera
wicker basketin the Basque game pelote
cocacoca plant
colacola nut
countrycountry music
COVID-19COVID-19 AcadĂ©mie française says it’s feminine, but most native speakers say le COVID-19
    
enzymeenzyme
Ă©phĂ©mèreephemera, mayfly 
   
fétuquefescuetype of grass
flammekuechetarte flambĂ©eAlsatian speciality: white “pizza” with a very thin crust
flashmobflash mob 
folkfolk music 
   
goulache
goulasch
goulash
goulashHungarian speciality: beef stew with paprika
   
happy endhappy endingfranglais at its finest
harissaharissaNorth African speciality: spicy red pepper sauce
harmoniqueharmonic, overtone
HLM
H.L.M.
public housingabbreviation of Habitation à loyer modéré, so feminine is preferred
holdingholding company
hymnehymnreligious song
   
imagoimagoimaginal stage of an insect’s metamorphosis
interviewinterview  
    
jaquejackfruit  
jet-set
jet set
jet set
joint-venturejoint venture  
    
kalachnikovKalachnikov
kolacola nut
   
laccolithelaccolith, laccolitegeographical formation
laquelacquer
limulelimulushorseshoe crab
livédo
livedo
livedocertain skin discoloration
    
manucuremanicure
manzanillamanzanillavery dry white wine, usually feminine
margaritamargaritatequila-based cocktail
météoritemeterorite
mirepoixmirepoixmixture of celery, onion, and carrots
mouflepulley block
   
nymphéenymphaeumancient monument
   
oasisoasisusually feminine
ordonnanceregulationit’s only unisex for this specific meaning
   
palabrepalaverdiscussion
parkaparka
perce-neigesnowdropwinter flower
photomatonphoto booth 
poiscaillefishinformal
polistepaper wasp
poppop music  
    
quadrillequadrille dancing
quatre-Ă©picesallspice
quatre-quatrejeep, 4×4
    
réglisseliquorice
relâcherest
    
salomĂ©T-bar sandal  
schappewaste silk
semi-remorque semi(-trailer truck), articulated lorry
sex-shop
sexe-shop
sex shop
shotshot alcohol; generally (m) in France, (f) in Canada.
squatineangelfish
staticesea lavender 
stéviastevianatural sweetener
stoutstoutdark beer
synopsismovie plot outline 
    
tachinetachina fly
tennistennis shoe
thermosThermos
   
vérétilleveretillum bioluminescent species
   
zydecozydeco music 

* According to Le Grand Robert numérique Version 4.1, there are 173 such terms, many of which are very rare, technical, or scientific. For the complete list, use advanced search:

Grand Robert

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Unisex French nouns

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