I was taught that all Italian words ending in -si are femminile. But dictionaries show that 'brindisi' is maschile. Is it exception or the rule about '-si words' is wrong?

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    At least the reflexive form of infinitive is another exception. You say "A volte è brutto guardarsi allo specchio".
    – CasaMich
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 6:22
  • 4
    Names like analisi, sintesi, cosmesi are of Greek origin and feminine; actually I can't recall any other name ending in -si that's masculine apart from brindisi. I don't think that learning names' gender by “rules and exceptions” is a good strategy, but it's personal opinion.
    – egreg
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 6:56
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    And welcome to Italian.SE!
    – egreg
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 6:59
  • @egreg Grazie! I'm learning Italian only a month, so rules make it easier to remember for me.
    – notChosen
    Commented Oct 11, 2017 at 8:38

1 Answer 1


While I agree with egreg that one should get a sense of words' gender by using them rather than with “rules and exceptions” (as an Italian I never heard explicitly that rule), by doing an advanced search on Zingarelli 2018 Italian dictionary for masculine nouns in “-si”, I find that there are only:

  • brindisi;
  • cremisi (crimson colour);
  • passi (a pass);
  • the musical note si;
  • some local, rare words such as sussi and biribissi;
  • some words of foreign origin such as farsi (the Persian language), lassi (an Indian drink made of yogurt), parsi and tutsi (each, a person of the respective ethnic group);
  • several compound words such as contapassi, schiacciasassi, saltafossi and so on, where the -si ending comes actually from a masculine plural (passi, sassi etc.);
  • some reflexive verbs in the infinitive form, used as nouns (as remarked in a comment), such as manifestarsi and volgersi.

All in all, less than 60 items are returned, including “false positives” (such as the plural name Rapidoglossi – a group of molluscs – or nouns with an accent, such as and tassì). For reference, a search for feminine nouns in “-si” returns (false positives and all) 1081 terms, from abiogenesi to zooprofilassi.

So, in a large majority of cases, I'd say that the rule you have been taught can be considered correct.

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