Spanish nouns that can be masculine or feminine

… each with a different meaning

When you start learning Spanish you learn that all nouns are classed as either masculine or feminine, however in reality there are exceptions when you can use a word with either gender, each with a different meaning.

Normally this relates to someone’s occupation, for example, el policía = the policeman, la policía = la policía. El periodista = the (male) journalist, la periodista = the (female) journalist. Other words can be used with either gender but be careful as their meaning changes. There is no reason for this so you just have to learn the gender with the noun and try to remember the following:

boleto/a: el boleto = ticket (travel) / la boletaticket (fine/penalty)

bolso/a: el bolso = handbag / la bolsa = larger bag/sack

capital: el capital = capital (money) / la capital = capital city

cometa: el cometa = comet / la cometa = kite

corte: el corte = cut / la corte = court (law)

cura: el cura = Catholic priest / la cura = cure

final: el final = end / la final = final of a tournament

frente: el frente = front / la frente = forehead

guía: el guía = male guide / la guía = guidebook or female guide

mañana: el mañana = future / la mañana = morning

papa: el papa = the pope / la papa = potato (Latin America)

parte: el parte = document / la parte = portion

pendiente: el pendiente = earring / la pendiente = slope

policía: el policía = policeman / la policía = police force / policewoman

radio: el radio = radius / la radio = radio

trompeta: el trompeta = male trumpet player / la trompeta = trumpet / female trumpet player

vocal: el vocal = male committee member / la vocal = vowel/female committee member


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