Russian Feminine Nouns
Russian feminine nouns may end in a consonant, a vowel or -ь. The vast majority of declinable feminine nouns end in -а/-я or -ь. Feminine nouns with other endings are, as a rule, indeclinable nouns borrowed from other languages.
Feminine nouns ending in a consonant
The group of feminine nouns ending in a consonant or -й mainly consists of indeclinable nouns. These are foreign names and surnames of women, names of newspapers, and several loanwords, meaning an adrress to a woman, such as мадам madam, мисс Miss, миссис Missis etc.
Шмидт - Schmidt (surname)
Таймс - Times (name of newspaper)
Feminine nouns ending in a vowel
Feminine nouns ending in -a/-я
станция - station
Feminine nouns ending in -о/-е/-и/-ю
These are some nouns ending in -o, -ю, -и, -е etc. which are mainly indeclinable words borrowed from other languages. In such instances, consultation with dictionary is recommended to ascertain their gender. This group of feminine nouns includes:
- Indeclinable nouns denoting female persons.
- Indeclinable nouns denoting names of rivers.
Янцзы - Yangtze
Миссисипи - Mississippi
- Some indeclinable nouns denoting nonliving objects the grammatical gender of which depends on the gender of Russian generic words denoting the relevant class.
салями - salami (feminine because the generic word колбаса 'sausage' is feminine)
медресе - madrasah (feminine because the generic word школа 'school' is feminine)
кольраби - kohlrabi (feminine because the generic word капуста 'cabbage' is feminine)
Feminine nouns ending in -ь
Most feminine nouns ending in -ь do not have specific markers which could be used to distingish them from masculine nouns ending in -ь.
Among feminine nouns ending in -ь, the following words have common features and may be united in the following groups:
- nouns denoting female persons
дочь - daughter
- nouns ending in -жь, -шь, -чь, -щь.
рожь - rye
помощь - help
брошь - brooch
- nouns ending in -ость, -есть
свежесть - freshness
In the vast majority of instances, consultation with dictionary is recommended to ascertain the gender of nouns ending in -ь.