feminine / مؤنث (mu’annath)

Usually accompanied by a ta-marbūṭa, but not always:

– Nouns that are feminine without a ta-marbūṭa:

نار  (fire), دار  (house), شمس  (sun), سوق  (market – mostly f.), صحراء  (desert), حرب (war), روح (soul)

– Nouns without a  ta-marbūṭa that are intrinsically feminine due to their meaning:

بنت  (daughter, girl), أخت  (sister), أم  (mother)

– City and country names are often feminine:

عمّان (Amman), مصر  (Egypt), بغداد  (Baghdad), etc

Body parts which there are two of:

أذن  (ear), يد  (hand), سن  (tooth), عين (eye), كتف (shoulder), etc


Other signs of femininity (علامات التأنيث ) are: 

Alif maqsūra  (الألف المقصورة) as in عطشى  (thirsty), ذِكرى  (memory), etc

Alif & Hamza as in عذراء  (virgin), بيضاء  (white), etc

Adjectives that are of the pattern فعيل  and carry a passive meaning do not take a ta-marbūṭa: So امرأة قتيل  (a killed woman) doesn’t take a ta-marbūṭa but لغة فصيحة  (eloquent language) does because eloquent doesn’t have a passive meaning

The same goes for certain adjectives of the patter فعول  that have an exaggerated meaning (see under الأساليب البلاغية  – hyperbole (مبالغة))  like:

لعوب  (flirtatious, playful), بتول  (virgin), عجوز (old lady/man), عجول (hectic)


Note that especially in Classical Arabic the broken masculine plural can show feminine agreement and the broken plural of feminine nouns can take masculine agreement if they precede the verb as in: 

وقال نسوة في المدينة = “And the women in the town said”

قامت الرجال = “The men raised.”