I'm new to Italian, and I'm grappling the concept of gender. For example, the word scimmia (monkey) is feminine, but sure there are male monkeys. What do we do if we want to specify a male monkey?

  • If your question is only about male monkeys you should perhaps change the title, which is much broader Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 22:53
  • Nope, I am using monkey to illustrate my overall questions. But feel free to edit it to be more appropriate
    – jxhyc
    Commented Aug 21, 2015 at 22:56
  • No way I'm going to change your question if it's not clear what your question is. Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 7:38

1 Answer 1


You would simply refer to them as:

  • la scimmia femmina

  • la scimmia maschio

If you are talking/writing about monkeys you would just say, il maschio (the male) e la femmina (the female). See the example below:

Lo strano amoreggiamento dei cebi della Serra da Capivara. Femmine che tirano sassate per attirare i maschi: corteggiamento estremo in natura.

  • 3
    Also it depends on the case, but when addressing "unknown" genders "in general" just using the plural usually works: for one "le scimmie"
    – kos
    Commented Aug 22, 2015 at 13:25

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