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Spanish is apparently like English in that there are a multitude of words for horses.

In English, we have "colt", "equine", "filly" (female), "horse", "mare" (female), "mount", "stallion" (male), and "steed".

In Spanish, I've found "caballo", "corcel", "equino", "montura", "padrillo" (male), "protranco", "potro", "semental" (male), and "yegua" (female).

The clearly gendered terms aside, my questions are:

(1) Which of the remaining terms allow gendered forms? Can I use "caballa"/"caballo", "equina"/"equino", "montura"/"monturo", etc?

(2) Which of the remaining terms allow gendered articles? Can I use "el caballo"/"la caballo", "el corcel"/"la corcel", "el equino"/"la equino", "el montura"/"la montura", etc?

If SpanishDict is any indication, "potra", "potranca", "potro", and "potranco" are all valid terms, so I guess they don't need any explanation; see http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/potro and http://www.spanishdict.com/translate/potranco.

I've seen indications that terms like "caballa" are never valid (to refer to a horse, not a fish) in any circumstance, however, and it's not clear to me whether I can still use "la caballo" if that's the case.

  • Can anyone explain to me why this question got 1K views? What's special about it? – aparente001 Apr 26 '18 at 5:41
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    @aparente001 it just entered the Hot Network Questions list. – Charlie Apr 26 '18 at 17:45
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    @Charlie - Thanks for explaining. I wondered how hot questions get selected and eventually landed at meta.stackexchange.com/a/61343/287826. It seems that timing is a big factor. I wonder if there's a way to list all the hot questions our site has had this year. – aparente001 Apr 26 '18 at 21:19
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For this kind of questions, I suggest you check the words in the RAE's dictionary. There you can check if the words you mention: just see if the definition is preceded by an "m", and "f" or "m y f".

  • If it is preceded by "m", you must use "el" before.
  • If it is preceded by "f", you must use "la" before.
  • If it is preceded by "m y f", you can use either.
  • If the definition contains a word in the form "blanco, a", you can use either but you need to change the word accordingly.

Note that this refers to the gender of the word. This does not mean that the word must be applied to a male horse if the word has a masculine gender. Remember that in Spanish words have gender while animals (or people) have sex.

Having said that, the most common words for a horse are caballo for a male horse (or if you do not know or do not want to state the sex of the horse) and yegua for a female horse. Note that every definition for caballo is preceded by "m" so the word must be used like this: "el caballo". But in yegua you can see that some definitions are preceded by "f" and others by "m", so the word acquires different meanings: if you say "la yegua" you refer to a female horse. If you say "el yegua" you may refer to a homosexual man in Cuba or a stupid person in a bunch of other American countries.

So let's check some other words:

  • Corcel is a masculine word. You must always say "el corcel" regardless of the sex of the horse.
  • Equino as a noun is a masculine word. Same comment as before. Note that it can also be an adjective (first meaning starting with "adj").
  • Montura is a feminine word. You must always say "la montura" regardless of the sex of the animal you are mounting.
  • Potro, tra can be used both in masculine and feminine form, so you can adapt the word according to the sex of the horse. The same goes for potranco, ca.

I imagine that you get the grasp of it by now.

| improve this answer | |
  • Thanks, I'll be consulting the RAE as needed from now on. – Patrick Dark Apr 26 '18 at 13:20
  • rocin, percheron, but i think this might be specific types of horses – Mike Apr 26 '18 at 17:42
  • "animals (or people) have sex" -- we have to find another way of making the distinction, as this has an interpretation that I don't think you intended. I haven't found a way of copyediting this yet. – aparente001 Apr 28 '18 at 11:30
  • @aparente001 no, I did not intend the other meaning although I was aware of it. If you find a better way of expressing the idea you're more than welcome to edit the answer. – Charlie Apr 28 '18 at 11:48
  • @Charlie - Normally I'll dive in and copyedit almost anything, but I think my knowledge of grammar terminology isn't strong enough to figure out how to fix this. – aparente001 Apr 28 '18 at 12:39

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