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Today I came across a German noun that does not seem to have a gender. That’s the word Jura translated as law. Usage example:

In Syrien hat sie Jura und Inneneinrichtung studiert.

Are there any (other) German nouns that do not have a gender?

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    I disagree that Jura does not have a gender. I believe it to be feminine/plural gender (can’t tell which exactly, but an article would be die). – Jan Feb 4 '16 at 15:31
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    Sanitär doesn't have a gender either (laut dem Duden). – c.p. Feb 4 '16 at 15:31
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    Yes, with regard to both Jura and Sanitär Duden states: Substantiv ohne Artikel – Eugene Str. Feb 4 '16 at 15:37
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    Note that the absence of an article doesn’t necessarily imply absence of gender, which can also be expressed by an adjective. On the other hand, there are words with article for which no gender can be determined, in particular plural-only words: die Kosten, die Alpen. – chirlu Feb 4 '16 at 17:16
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    Jura: "die Jurisprudenz" (short "Jura") oder "der Jura" (Hettangian to Tithonian). Depends ... ;-) – a_donda Mar 5 at 10:42
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Are there any (other) German nouns that do not have a gender?

Yes. There are nouns in German without articles or with Nullartikel. I have found German nouns without an article.

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    Many entries in that list are questionable. I flat-out reject foreign words such as East or Est. I also flat-out reject the Wochentagfrüh constructions which I consider to be noun and adjective and to be written as two words. I reject person names for requiring articles in my colloquial speech (der Jonas) and so on and so forth. – Jan Feb 5 '16 at 1:03
  • @Jan but it's the Duden ... – Amabile Scientius Feb 5 '16 at 2:06
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    @AmabileScientius: your duden link got broken on duden's page. (Meinten Sie ofen oder antiken? Kein Treffer im Wörterbuch) Do you think you might update your answer - and maybe add some core descriptions from the linked PDF? – Shegit Brahm Mar 5 at 7:54
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    I'm not convinced, that Nullartikel excludes possession of gender, since an article would appear as soon as an adjective is added: Das zerstörte Syrien..., das fein gesiebte Mehl etc. – guidot Mar 5 at 10:51
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    This response does not answer the question. – Stefan Schroeder Mar 17 at 13:32
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The only one I can think of right now is Gassi. I think that counts right?

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  • Welcome to German.SE. Mathematically spoken: the question "exist any?" is proven by one example. Unlikely we don't talk with math rules here only. Please consider e.g. linking your word to a dictionary in hope to get some hints at hand about additional words so that you can make it a full answer. Otherwise the current state of your writing looks only like a comment. – Shegit Brahm Mar 5 at 8:00
  • @ShegitBrahm: Man kann darüber streiten, ob es eine Frage der Mengenlehre, also Mathematik; der Logik, also Philosophie oder Mathematik ist oder der Semantik, also Grammatik. Nach allen drei Disziplinen beantwortet ein gültiges Beispiel die Frage, ob es ein zusätzliches Element gibt, für welches eine Aussage zutrifft, die Frage vollständig. Schon daher halte ich die Frage für beantwortet und nicht für einen Kommentar. Wenn Du eine andere Fragestellung wünschst solltest Du Deinen Kommentar an die Frage, nicht die Antwort heften. – user unknown Mar 5 at 11:30
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    «Gassi» is not a noun, so it does not count. – mach Mar 6 at 11:05
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All German nouns have an inherent gender. The usual criteria for determining whether or not a word is a noun in German grammar goes something like that: A word is a noun

  1. if it has declension (this is what distinguishes nouns from verbs or particles),
  2. if it has inherent gender (this is what distinguishes nouns from adjectives), and
  3. if it can have an article (this is what distinguishes nouns from pronouns).

(Note that there are also non-grammatical definitions of what a noun is, e.g. a word is a noun if it is written with a capital letter according in Duden.)


The case of «Jura» is a bit special because it is used almost exclusively as a collective noun without article, and because it is a Latin plural that may be perceived by many as a singular nowadays (the singular is «Jus»). Therefore, its gender may be hard to determine unless you make a little effort for finding clear cases, e.g. the following:

«Ich studiere Jura.» — «Welche Jura interessieren dich denn am meisten?» — «Die Jura von Professor Meeseeks.»

If you say «welche Jura interessieren dich» (which is what I would say), then you are using «Jura» as a plural. Obviously, this does not reveal the gender as the gender can only be seen in the singular. If «Jura» is used as a plural, then the singular would be «Jus», and the corresponding gender-revealing question would be «welches Jus interessiert dich» – which shows that it is a neutrum.

Some might find the below more acceptable:

«Ich studiere Jura.» — «Welches Jura interessiert dich denn am meisten?» — «Das Jura von Professor Meeseeks.»

If you say «welches Jura interessiert dich» instead, then you are using «Jura» as a neutrum singular.


Some speakers may not have any intuition about the gender of «Jura». They may try to avoid sentences like the above, using circumlocutions like «Jura-Studium» instead. For these speakers, the word does not meet any of the three criteria for nouns mentioned above. Consequently, you can argue that grammatically speaking, «Jura» is developping into a particle for such speakers, similar to «Auto» in the expression «ich fahre Auto» or «fort» in the expression «ich gehe fort».

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  • All German nouns have an inherent gender. I think either Jura disproves this or one would be forced to not classify it as a noun. Die Jura is completely impossible (with the possible exception of using it as the plural of a Latin word). Also note that, as a plural, the gender is again indeterminate. – David Vogt Mar 6 at 11:55
  • So how would you then ask the question «Welch<?> Jura gef<?>ll<?> dir denn am besten?» – mach Mar 6 at 12:06
  • I wouldn't, and I don't see how one could. – David Vogt Mar 6 at 12:09
  • Do you know a better way of asking the gender? – mach Mar 6 at 12:19
  • I don't see any use of the word that reveals the gender. Therefore, I think saying that it has none is fair. – David Vogt Mar 6 at 12:31

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