1. Education

French Nouns with Two Genders

Noms avec deux genres

By

le maire - mayor
la mer - sea
la mère - mother

le mal - evil
le mâle - male
la malle - trunk

le manche - handle
la manche - sleeve
la Manche - English Channel

le manœuvre - laborer
la manœuvre - maneuver, operation

le manille - Manila cigar, Manila hat
la manille - (card game) manille; Manille shackle

le manque - lack, shortage, fault
à la manque - (familiar) crummy, second-rate

le mari - husband
la mari - marijuana (apocope of la marijuana)
Marie - feminine name

le martyr - male martyr
le martyre - martyrdom, agony
la martyre - female martyr

le Maure - Moor
le mors - bit (horse-riding)
le mort - dead body
la mort - death

le mauve - mauve
la mauve - mallow plant

le mec (informal) - guy, bloke
la Mecque - Mecca

le mégot - cigarette butt
la mégot - cigarette

le mémoire - memo, report, memoirs
la mémoire - memory

le merci - thanks
la merci - mercy

le mi - mi (musical note E)
la mie - soft part of bread

le mi-temps  - (work) part-time
la mi-temps - (sports) half, half-time

le micro-onde - microwave oven
la micro-onde - microwave (electromagnetic radiation)

le mite - moth
la mythe - myth

le mode - method, way, mood
la mode - fashion

le moral - morale
la morale - moral (of a story), morals

le mou - softness
la moue - pout

le moule - mold
la moule - mussel

le mousse - ship's boy (apprentice)
la mousse - moss, froth, foam, mousse

le mur - wall
la mûre - blackberry

le nocturne - night hunter (bird), nocturn (religion), nocturne (music, art)
la nocturne - late night store opening, sports match, meeting

un œuvre - body of work
une œuvre - piece of work, task

un office - office, bureau
une office - pantry

un ombre - grayling (fish)
une ombre - shade, shadow

orange (m) - orange (color)
une orange - orange (fruit)

le page - page boy
la page - page (of a book)

le pair - peer
le père - father
la paire - pair

Pâques (m) - Easter
la pâque - Passover
les Pâques (f) - Easter

le parallèle - parallel (figurative)
la parallèle - parallel line

le pendule - pendulum
la pendule - clock

personne (m) - (negative pronoun) no one
la personne - person

le pet - (familiar) fart
la paie - pay
la paix - peace

le physique - physique, face
la physique - physics

le plastique - plastic
la plastique - modeling arts, body shape

le platine - platinum
la platine - turntable, deck, strip of metal

le poche - paperback book
la poche - pocket, pouch

le poêle - stove
la poêle - frying pan

le poids - weight
le pois - pea, dot
la poix - pitch, tar

le poignet - wrist, (shirt) cuff
la poignée - handful, fistful; handle

le poison - poison, (informal) unpleasant man or boy
la poison - (informal) unpleasant woman or girl

le politique - politician
la politique - politics, policy

le ponte - (informal) big shot
la ponte - laying eggs, clutch of eggs

le poste - job, post, tv/radio set
la poste - post office, mail/post

le pot - jar, pot, tin, can
la peau - skin

le pub - pub/bar
la pub - ad (apocope of publicité)

le pupille - male ward
la pupille - pupil (eye), female ward

le rade (slang) - bar, bistro
la rade - harbor

le radio - radio operator
la radio - radio, X ray

le rai - spoke (wheel)
la raie - line, furrow, scratch (fish) skate, ray

le réclame - (falconry) the cry to recall the bird
la réclame - publicity; en réclame - on sale

le relâche - rest, respite, break**
la relâche - rest, respite, break**, port of call
**For these meanings, relâche can be masculine or feminine.

le renne - reindeer
la reine - queen
la rêne - rein

le rêve - dream
la rave - rave party (but not rave meaning "turnip," which is pronounced differently)

le rose - pink (color)
la rose - rose (flower)

le roux - red, redhead, roux (soup base)
la roue - wheel

le secrétaire - male secretary, writing desk, secretary
la secrétaire - female secretary

le sel - salt
la selle - saddle

le soi - self, id
la soie - silk

le sol - ground, floor, soil
la sole - sole (fish)

le solde - balance (account), sale
la solde - pay

le somme - snooze, nap
la somme - sum, amount

le souris - smile (archaic)
la souris - mouse

le tic - tic, twitch
la tique - tick

le tour - tour, turn, trick
la tour - tower, rook (chess)

le tout - whole
la toux - cough

le trompette - trumpeter
la trompette - trumpet

le vague - vagueness
la vague - wave

le vapeur - steamer
la vapeur - steam, haze, vapor

le vase - vase
la vase - silt, mud

le vigile - night watchman
la vigile - vigil

le visa - visa (to enter a country)
la visa - Visa (credit card)

le voile - veil
la voile - sail

Quiz on dual-gender nouns

Did I miss any? Add them here!

Introduction to French nouns and gender
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. French Language
  4. French Grammar
  5. Nouns
  6. French Dual-Gender Nouns

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.