German Language Blog

Männliche Substantive im Deutschen erkennen: Teil 4 – Detecting German masculine nouns: part 4 Posted by on Jan 10, 2012 in Grammar, Language

You are probably done for by my previous three posts because discussing the genders of German nouns is indeed no bed of roses. But the good news is that we are almost through that topic, at least with respect to masculine nouns. Anyway, in this post I exclusively focus on the endings of words, which tend to be masculine in German.


a) Some nouns that end with the following endings

Some nouns that end with the following endings are masculine in German.

-el: der Schlüssel – keyder Mantel – coat

der Sessel – armchair

der Löffel – spoon

der Dackel – dachshund

der Apfel – apple

der Stapel – pile; stack

-en: der Wagen – car; cart; wagonder Regen – rain

der Magen – stomach

der Segen – blessing

der Boden – floor

der Haken – hook

der Garten – garden

der Graben – ditch

-er: der Bohrer – drillder Rechner – computer; calculator

der Besitzer – owner

der Redner – orator, speaker

der Fahrer – driver

der (Flaschen-)Öffner – (bottle) opener

-ich: der Teppich – carpetder Kranich – crane

der Estrich – screed, floor fill

der Bottich – tub

-ig: der Honig – honeyder König – king

der Pfennig = former German currency

der Essig – vinegar

-ing: der Hering – herringder Fasching – carnival, Mardi Gras
-s: der Schnaps – schnappsder Schlips – necktie

der Knicks – curtsey

der Klaps – clap

der Klops – meatball

-ling: der Lehrling – traineeder Säugling – infant

der Schmetterling – butterfly

der Zwilling – twin

der Findling – foundling

der Neuling – freshman, newcomer, recruit

der Sperling – sparrow

Exceptions are: die Formel – formular; die Schüssel – bowl; die Regel – rule; die Gabel – fork; das Camping – camping; das Meeting – meeting; das Training – training; das Fenster – window, etc.


b) Nouns with the following endings

The nouns in that category are loan words from other languages, predominately from Greek, Latin, and French.

Nouns that refer to people:

-and: der Konfirmand – confirmeeder Doktorand – doctoral candidate

der Proband – test person

-ant: der Laborant – laboratory techniciander Mandant – client

der Garant – guarantor

der Demonstrant – demonstrator

der Informant – informant

der Musikant – minstrel; musician

-är: der Pensionär – pensioner; retireeder Visonär – visionary

der Reaktionär – reactionist; reactionary

der Volontär = a trainee who usually has a university degree

der Legionär – legionnaire

-at: der Kandidat – candidateder Demokrat – democrat

der Soldat – soldier

der Legat – legate

(exception: das Mandat – mandate)

-ent: der Student – studentder Absolvent – graduate; degree holder

der Abiturient – high-school graduate

der Assistant – assistant

der Agent – agent

-et: der Prophet – prophetder Asket – ascetic

der Athlet – athlete

-eur: der Friseur – hair dresserder Ingenieur – engineer

der Dompteur – animal tamer

der Regisseur – director

der Amateur – amateur

-ist: der Pianist – pianistder Statist – extra; mute; spear carrier

der Aktivist – activist

der Publizist – publicist

der Journalist – jounalist

der Artist – artist

der Jurist – jurist; lawyer; law student

der Prokurist – attorney

-loge: der Philologe – philologistder Psychologe – psychologist

der Geologe – geologist

der Theologe – theologist

der Biologe – biologist

-or: der Lektor – reader (of a publishing company)der Doktor – doctor; physician

der Professor – professor

der Revisor – auditor

der Direktor – principal; manager; director


Further nouns:

-ismus: der Altruismus – altruismder Egoismus – selfishness

der Mechanismus – mechanism

der Optimismus – optimism

der Kapitalismus – capitalism

-log: der Monolog – monologder Prolog – prologder Dialog – dialogder Katalog – catalog
-or: der Motor – motorder Humor – humor

der Traktor – tractor

der Rotor – rotor

-us: der Kursus – course (also “Kurs”)der Rhythmus – rhythm

der Enthusiasmus – enthusiasm


Last but not least: Most people ask for a logical explanation why some German nouns are masculine, others feminine, and still others neuter. The bad news is: there isn’t any logic behind it. So, do yourself a favor and do not seek for any answers but simply spend your time with learning German nouns and their appropriate grammatical genders. I can imagine that it is difficult to accept that a ‘bottle’ is feminine in German, a ‘table’ masculine, and a ‘glass’ neuter but I promise you: the more you progress the more you will get a feeling for the language and you will be able to say intuitively whether a composition of words is grammatically correct and/or makes sense.

So, chin up! 😉

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About the Author: Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra