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What are the feminine exceptions to the general rule "Spanish nouns ending -o are masculine"?

  • Actually, the rule is wrong or miss in the concept. The "o" is comming from "um" latin derivation, that's the reason the neutral genre is identical to the masculine genre (mixed up with the second declination). – MacGyver May 14 at 16:58
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    Curious about the reason for the downvote. Does there already exist a question similar to this? – ukemi May 14 at 18:41
  • I dont think so, but your comment refresh me that i didnt vote so... i vote it up – MacGyver May 15 at 15:18
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There are only a few, and they come under a handful of classifications:

  • From Catalan:
    • nao(← nau ← nāvis), seo (← seu ← sēdēs)
  • Latin irregular:
    • mano, ratio, libido
  • Female persons:
    • seño, virago, hijadalgo (hija de algo)
  • Abbreviations:1
    • furgo (furgoneta), moto (motocicleta)
    • demo (demostración), radio (radiodifusión)
    • eco (ecografía), foto (fotografía), telefoto (telefotografía)
    • dínamo/dinamo (máquina dínamo-eléctrica), magneto (máquina magneto-eléctrica)
    • disco (discoteca), polio (poliomielitis), quimio (quimioterapia), sado (sadomasoquista), seño (señorita)
  • Implicit feminine noun:
    • Letters: [la letra] o, ro
    • Times: [las horas] cuatro, cino, ocho
    • Misc: [la policía] Gestapo, sinhueso ("la lengua")

1. Note however that some abbreviations of feminine words are masculine e.g. el porno, el cromo

1

1- Colloquial shortenings: Results of shortening or abbreviation of compound words. Some maintain the genre with etymological awareness:

la moto ‘motocicleta’

la foto ‘fotografía’

, la eco ‘ecografía’ (no incluida en el DRAE).

But in others the etymological feeling is not preserved: radio, dinamo, magneto, polio ‘poliomielitis’. People with little culture can consider, by analogy, these words as masculine and create a vulgarity with prosthetic a-. A phrase of the type "una moto", "alguna moto" they segment it as "*un amoto", "*algún amoto" and, from them, forman: *el amoto, *el afoto, *el arradio...

2-Common gender nouns referring to women: la testigo, la soprano, la miembro...

3- Cults nouns: The female cultisms in -o have always been subjected to the analogical force of the masculine ones in -o: la eco, la método o la cartílago terminaron siendo masculinos: el eco, el método y el cartílago

“Al vislumbrar de la modesta luna le responde la eco solitaria.” (L. Fernández de Moratín, Poesías completas, 1778-1822). “...lo cual se hará escriviendo con la método i términos devidos a cada cosa”. (Juan de Robles, El culto sevillano, 1631).

Other cultured nouns., como caligo, virago o libido, resist as feminine, although the first is not included in the DRAE with any of the two meanings we have found, the second hesitates about the genre due to its own meaning of sexual ambiguity and the third generates, as we saw, numerosos errores:

“Lo oculto de Dios, según el lenguaje del libro del Éxodo, está representado en aquella nube densa y oscura, es decir, en la caligo”. “El ocultamiento luminoso de Dios...” José M. Moraga Esquivel).
“La caligo beltrao es una mariposa de las selvas brasileñas, que alcanza los 18 centímetros de envergadura alar.” (Animalandia, acceso 21-10-2009)
"La haitiana era una mulata auténtica; un virago color chocolate". (La Venus mecánica, José Díaz Fernández, 1929).
"Cuando el germano de estos siglos se ocupa en idealizar la mujer, imagina la walkiria, la hembra beligerante, virago musculosa que posee actitudes y destrezas de varón". (Artículos, Ortega y Gasset, 1917-33)

Extract from this

  • Nice! // Note, shortcomings means something else entirely. Kind of like character flaws. – aparente001 May 22 at 4:50

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