i think languages logo

Masculine and feminine German words – vocabulary and grammar

german professions masculine and feminine nouns

In German, some nouns that describe humans and animals have both masculine and feminine versions. For most of those nouns, the masculine version is considered the standard version of the noun, while the feminine version can be derived from the masculine one.

Masculine and feminine nouns in German

When describing a person’s profession, you can tell whether the person is male or female by looking at the ending of the noun. The feminine version of a noun is often formed by adding “-in” in the singular and  “-innen” in the plural to the masculine version of the word.

Let’s have a look at an example of a typical German profession to which this rule applies:

der Lehrer

the male teacher

die Lehrerin

the female teacher

Lehrer und Lehrerinnen

male teachers and female teachers

As you can see, the word for a male teacher (“der Lehrer“) changes to the word for a female teacher (“die Lehrerin“) by adding “-in” at the end. For most German professions, especially those ending in “-er“, you can apply this rule.

As you change a noun from its masculine to its feminine version, don’t forget to change the article also! The masculine article “der” is replaced by the feminine article “die“.

Common German professions (masculine and feminine)

Here is a list with 30 common German professions that follow this easy rule:

  • Tischler, Tischlerin (carpenter)
  • Künstler, Künstlerin (artist)
  • Autor, Autorin (author)
  • Apotheker, Apothekerin (pharmacist)
  • Verkäufer, Verkäuferin (salesperson)
  • Friseur, Friseurin (hairdresser)
  • Architekt, Architektin (architect)
  • Briefträger, Briefträgerin (postman)
  • Buchhalter, Buchhalterin (accountant)
  • (Bus-/Taxi-/LKW-)Fahrer, Fahrerin ((bus-/taxi-/truck-)driver)
  • Bäcker, Bäckerin (baker)
  • Assistent, Assistentin (assistant)
  • Dirigent, Dirigentin (conductor)
  • Elektriker, Elektrikerin (electrician)
  • Gärtner, Gärtnerin (gardener)
  • Journalist, Journalistin (journalist)
  • Kassierer, Kassiererin (cashier)
  • Kellner, Kellnerin (waiter, waitress)
  • Metzger, Metzgerin (butcher)
  • Pastor, Pastorin (priest)
  • Politiker, Politikerin (politician)
  • Polizist, Polizistin (policeman, policewoman)
  • Psychiater, Psychiaterin (psychiatrist)
  • Richter, Richterin (judge)
  • Schauspieler, Schauspielerin (actor, actress)
  • Sekretär, Sekretärin (secretary)
  • Sportler, Sportlerin (athlete)
  • Soldat, Soldatin (soldier)
  • Tänzer, Tänzerin (dancer)
  • Vertreter, Vertreterin (agent)

Note: When the male version of a noun ends with an “-e“, this “-e” is usually dropped before adding    “-in” for the female version:

der Dermatologe                   -> die Dermatologin

the male dermatologist         -> the female dermatologist

der Löw                                 -> die Löwin

the lion                                     -> the lioness

German nouns that need special attention

Some German nouns need your special attention when changing them from their masculine to their feminine versions. Those words make some additional changes. You will need to memorize them, as there is no specific rule explaining those changes.

In the following examples, the vowels “a“, “o” and “u” turn into the vowel mutations “ä“, “ö” and “ü when forming the feminine version of the noun:

der Artzt                                    -> die Ärtztin

the male doctor                        -> the female doctor

der Anwalt                                -> die Anwältin

the male lawyer                        ->  the female lawyer

der Koch                                    -> die Köchin

the male cook                           -> the female cook

der Hund                                   -> die Hündin

the male dog                             -> the female dog

If you’re very new to German, you might want to learn more about German vowel mutations (“Umlaute“).

Beware that there is no rule for “a”, “o” and “u” changing into their mutated versions. The following examples show that this is not always the case:

der Pastor                                 -> die Pastorin

the male priest                         -> the female priest

der Chirurg                              -> die Chirurgin

the male surgeon                     -> the female surgeon

der Soldat                                 -> die Soldatin

the male soldier                       -> the female soldier

Exceptions to the rule

There are some male and female versions of words that do not share the same word stem, but are completely different from each other:

der Vater                                  -> die Mutter

the father                                  -> the mother

der Krankenpfleger                 -> die Krankenschwester

the male nurse                        -> the female nurse

der Angestellte                       -> die Angestellte

the male employee                -> the female employee

der Mann                                -> die Frau

the man                                   -> the woman

As you can see from the last example, “man” means “Mann” and “woman” means “Frau“. Accordingly, some nouns add “-mann” or “-frau” as suffixes in order to show whether the noun is masculine or feminine.

der Kaufmann                       -> die Kauffrau

the businessman                   -> the businesswoman

Interestingly, there are some nouns describing professions that only exist either as masculine or feminine version, showing how deep gender stereotypes are rooted in language. For example, the cleaner (“die Putzfrau“) and the garbage collector (“der Müllmann“). Nowadays, many people try to use gender-neutral nouns such as “Putzhilfe” for cleaner or “Müllwerker” for garbage collector.

More about jobs in Germany

Do you want to know more about which professions are well-respected in Germany? It might also be interesting to know which jobs you should pursue in Germany while learning German.

Related Posts

French: How to teach on Italki

Why a guide to teaching languages online I’m ready to reveal my small secrets as I transition from providing online instruction to managing my website.

German: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

Numerous individuals use software and apps to learn new languages. These days, two well-known online resources for language learning include Babbel and Duolingo. They both

Languages: Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the differences between Babbel and Duolingo. These are unquestionably the two most well-known language learning programs out there. Let’s

Top 20 Spanish words used in sports

Discover the top 20 Spanish words commonly used in the world of sports. Enhance your sports vocabulary and understanding with our informative blog. Introduction The

French Phrases You Need in Workplace

Mastering French phrases in the workplace is essential for effective communication. This blog explores key phrases to navigate the professional world en français. I. Introduction

Sea in French: How to say Sea in Italian

Discover the Italian translation for “sea” with our guide. Learn how to pronounce and use this common word in the beautiful Italian language. The sea

Spanish adverbials: Mientras…

The word Mientras can be an adverb or conjunction depending on the sentence and its structure. You can use mientras to connect two actions in

Spanish imperative negative + pronouns

The Spanish structure imperativo negativo + pronombres enclíticos is a bit controversial topic since many Spanish students get confused when using it. Los pronombres enclíticos

7 Myths About Learning Spanish

Unveiling the truth behind learning Spanish! Discover and debunk the 7 common myths that may be holding you back from mastering this vibrant language. Are

Famous French Food You Must Try

Indulge in the flavors of France with our guide to famous French food. Discover must-try dishes like escargots, coq au vin, and crème brûlée. Bon

Famous French Singers You Must Know

Discover the iconic voices that have made French music famous worldwide. Our list of famous French singers features timeless classics and modern hits. French singers

Famous Spanish Food You Must Try

Embark on a delectable journey through Spain’s culinary wonders! Discover the must-try famous Spanish dishes that will tantalize your taste buds. Spanish Food Spain is

Famous German Singers You Must Know

Get ready to immerse yourself in the enchanting world of German music as we showcase the extraordinary talents of renowned singers from Germany. From timeless

Famous Spanish Singers You Must Know

Let the music captivate your senses and ignite your passion for Spanish culture by knowing the famous Spanish singers that ever existed. Importance of Spanish

German Phrases You Need in the Workplace

Discover essential German phrases for the workplace. From greetings to professional conversations, equip yourself with the necessary language skills. German Phrases in the Workplace Learning

Spanish Phrases You Need in Workplace

Master the essential Spanish phrases for the workplace and enhance your communication skills. From greetings to professional requests, we’ve got you covered! Spanish Words in

Top Spanish Speaking Countries

Explore the vibrant cultures and diverse landscapes of the top Spanish-speaking countries in this blog. Discover their history, traditions, and more! Explanation of the importance

Top 20 German Words Used in Sports

Discover the top 20 German words commonly used in sports, from ‘Tor’ to ‘Abseits’. Enhance your sports vocabulary and impress your German-speaking friends! Introduction Explanation

Top 20 French Words Used in Sports

Discover the Top 20 French words used in sports! From “but” to “arbitre,” learn essential vocab to help you better understand the sports world in

How to Say “Food” in Spanish

“Learn the different ways to say ‘food’ in Spanish and expand your vocabulary with our comprehensive guide. Enhance your language skills today!” One of the

How to Say “Food” in French

Learn the various ways to say “food” in French with this comprehensive guide. Expand your vocabulary and impress your francophone friends! “Food” in French: La

How to Say “Food” in German

Learn how to say ‘food’ in German and impress your friends with your language skills! Check out our easy guide and enhance your vocabulary today.

Top 7 Reasons for learning French

Parlez-vous Français? Explore the top 7 reasons for learning French and unlock a world of opportunities. Start your language journey with confidence today! 7 reasons

Top 7 Reasons for Learning German

Discover the power of learning German! Unlock opportunities and expand your horizons with compelling reasons to study German. Start your linguistic journey today! Reasons for

Top 9 Reasons for learning Spanish

Is learning Spanish worth it? What are the top reasons for learning the Spanish language? Start your Spanish journey now! Reasons why learning Spanish is worth

How to learn Spanish through Podcasts

Do you want to learn Spanish through podcasts? Immerse yourself in the richness of the Spanish language with our podcast-based learning guide. Learn Spanish through

How to learn Languages through Podcasts

Unlock the power of language learning with podcasts! Explore the ultimate guide to mastering a new language through engaging podcasts. Start your linguistic journey now!

How to Maximize Your Time in Learning German

Learn German efficiently with expert tips! Discover effective techniques on how to maximize your time in learning German. Tips and strategies for efficiently learning German

How to learn French through Podcasts

Unlock the beauty of the French language with our podcast-based learning approach. Master French effortlessly with engaging lessons and practical tips! The Power of Podcasts

How to Learn German through Podcasts

Master German with ease! Explore the ultimate guide to learning German through podcasts. Gain language skills, cultural insights, and fluency. Start your German journey now!

How hard is it to learn German?

How hard is it to learn German?  Our comprehensive guide provides insights into the challenges and strategies to master the language. How hard is it

How hard is it to learn French?

Discover how difficult it is to learn French in our latest blog post, “Parlez-Vous Français?”. Gain insights and tips to improve your French skills. Parlez-vous

How to say in German

Looking to learn how to say common phrases in German? Check out this blog for tips and tricks on how to speak the language like

How to Pronounce Luxury Brands in French?

Are you a fashion enthusiast struggling to correctly pronounce luxury brand names in French? Look no further! In this French pronunciation guide for luxury brands,

Silent French H: Mute and Aspirated

The silent letter h is often causing trouble to French learners. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at the “h” mute and

Faire la Bise: All about French Kiss

If you’re wondering how to greet in French, either through handshakes or kisses, you are at the right place. Today, you’ll learn how to navigate

Speaking practice: talk to yourself

Improve your speaking skills with these simple tips on how to practice speaking by talking to yourself. Start speaking confidently today! Read more here. Speaking

Spaced repetition for the German language

Master German faster with spaced repetition! Our blog explains how this powerful technique works and offers tips to incorporate it into your learning routine. What

What does TE AMO mean in Spanish?

Discover the romantic meaning behind Te Amo, the Spanish phrase for ‘I love you’. Explore its cultural significance and usage in everyday life. Te Amo