The quick answer to is mano is masculine or feminine is that it is .....
What, I hear you cry! How can be?
My teacher said that all words ending in -o in Spanish are .... (I can hear you say!)
Well, most of them are ....
but there are some exceptions, and mano is one of them.
¡Es la vida! ... as they say!
So it is la mano....
Well, that is that cleared up then - or is it?
If you wanted the answer to the question is mano masculine of feminine, you now have it.
La mano is feminine is Spanish.
However, in the rest of this article you will discover a little more about la mano - the whys and the wherefores.
Why this is all so confusing for English speakers
English is fairly straight forward when it comes to nouns. In simple terms, nouns are preceded by the word (the article) - the.
And this is true whether the noun is in the singular (one of something), or the plural (more than one of something).
As an example of this in practice, in English we say:
Nouns are masculine or feminine - what does that really mean?
This can be easily understood when we are talking about brothers or sisters, mum and dad etc. The noun is clearly masculine or feminine.
But how can a word like hand be masculine or feminine?
Well, in English it is neither, the noun hand is neuter. It does not have a gender (i.e. whether it is masculine or feminine), it is neuter (neither masculine or feminine).
This is the crux of the difficulty for English speakers when speaking Spanish (or come to that most other European languages) - this whole masculine feminine thing can be, at least initially, highly confusing.
In Spanish, however, nouns are either masculine or feminine.
So, this concept is easily understood, when we are talking about human beings etc. - that is to say when it is clear to an English speaker, whether the noun or the word is actually (to an English speaker's eyes) masculine or feminine.
But life, unfortunately, becomes a lot more complicated when we are dealing with objects which are not, apparently, masculine or feminine.
The fact is that to a Spanish speaking person a book is masculine (el libro).
... and the fact is that to a Spanish speaking person la mano is feminine.
... and this, even though la mano ends in an -o.
Frustrating - yes!
Confusing - possibly so.
Whilst in the next section of this article we go through the reasons why mano is feminine, the easiest way round the potential area of confusion and difficulty for Spanish language learners is to ...
... accept it
yes, don't question it, or get worried or confused,
... simply accept it.
Languages, like human beings, are different. Nothing more, nothing less.
Just take this whole masculine and feminine thing in your stride.
So, why is "la mano" feminine?
To answer this question we need to look into where the word la mano actually came from , before it was fully assimilated into the Spanish language.
The next section answers this question.
Origins of the word "la mano"
This is the key to understanding why the word mano is feminine.
Spanish is a romantic language, that is to say that its origins go back to Latin.
Suffice it to say that the word for hand in Latin was
and that it was (drum roll)
For a more detailed explanation, click here:
English words linked into "la mano"
Can you think of any words linked to the word la mano in English?
Whether you can answer this quickly or not, depends partly on how flexible you are in English, and, indeed, how carefully you have actually really thought about English.
And, for me, this is one of the real spin-off advantages of learning a foreign language like Spanish - it makes you think more closely about English and how it actually works.
Well, that's a real double whammy!
The first one that comes to my mind as I write this is the word "manual".
Manual labour is work that is done by hand.
A quick internet search turns up a lot more.
Here is a list in all its glory!
amanuensis - person who writes, by hand, for another
maintain - originally to keep by hand
mandate - literally given by hand
maneuver (Brit Eng manoeuvre) - to work with the hand
manicure - care for the hand
manipulation - worked with the hand
manual - by hand
manufacture - originally to make by hand
manuscript - handwritten piece
el / la amanuense
Examples of the use of "la mano" in Spanish
Below is a list of examples of the use of "la mano" in Spanish.
This list is fairly extensive.
Here is the source of the list (which I have shortened slightly)
hecho a mano
¿tienes el encendedor a mano?
votación a mano alzada
a mano armada
dar o estrechar la mano a alguien
darse o estrecharse la mano
lavarse las manos
¡manos arriba!, ¡arriba las manos!
mano de obra
mano de obra barata
mano de obra especializada
a mano derecha/izquierda
gire a mano derecha
a manos de
alzar la mano contra alguien
caer en manos de alguien
agarrar a alguien con las manos en la masa
de primera mano
de segunda mano
dejar algo en manos de alguien
echar/tender una mano
ensuciarse las manos
escaparse de las manos a alguien
se me fue la mano con la sal
¡yo me lavo las manos!
llevarse las manos a la cabeza
mano a mano
con mano dura o de hierro
pedir la mano de una mujer
ponerse en manos de alguien
ser la mano derecha de alguien
venir o llegar a las manos
have you got your lighter handy o to hand?
show of hands
to shake hands with somebody
to shake hands
to wash one's hands
cheap labo(u)r costs
skilled labo(u)r o workers
on the right/left
on the right/left
at the hands of
to raise one's hand to somebody
to fall into somebody's hands
to catch somebody red-handed o in the act
brand new, first hand
to leave something in somebody's hands
to give/offer a hand
to get one's hands dirty
to slip through somebody's hands
I overdid the salt
I wash my hands of it!
to throw one's hands in the air (in horror)
tête-à-tête, hand to hand
with a firm hand
to ask for a woman's hand (in marriage)
to put oneself in somebody's hands
to be somebody's right hand man
to come to blows
Here are a list of idioms in Spanish which use the word mano, which will certainly add real flavour and interest to your Spanish.
The list is fairly lengthy.
As a suggestion, go through the list, pick out your favourites, and write them down somewhere.
...put them on a post-it note?
... start a key vocabulary book?
.... save then in your own personal quizlet (not sure what quizlet is? - click here)?
... you get the idea!
the important thing is that you DO something with the information.
You need to be do something active ...
.... otherwise they will be gone
... like yesterday's twitter post!
So, let's get to the list.
|a mano||by hand|
|a mano alzada||freehand|
|al alcance de la mano, a mano||close at hand, close by|
|apreciar de primera mano||see for yourself|
|aprender de la mano de||learn from [sb], learn under [sb]'s guidance|
|apretar la mano, estrechar la mano||shake [sb]'s hand|
|arrastrar de la mano||drag [sb] by the hand|
|asalto a mano armada, atraco a mano armada, robo a mano armada||armed robbery|
|bolsa de mano||handbag|
|buena mano||gift, talent, knack|
|caminar de la mano||walk hand in hand|
|con la mano en la cintura||easily|
|con mano izquierda||discerningly|
|con una mano atrás y otra adelante||break even|
|coser a mano||sew by hand|
|coste de mano de obra, costo de mano de obra loc nom m||labour costs|
|dar una mano, dar la mano, echar una mano, echar la mano||lend a hand, give a hand|
|de la mano||holding hands|
|de la mano con||holding hands with|
|de mano en mano||from hand to hand|
|de primera mano||first-hand, firsthand|
|de segunda mano||second-hand|
|dedo de la mano||finger|
|echar la mano, tender una mano||give a hand|
|en la palma de la mano||in the palm of your hand|
|entrega en mano||hand delivery|
|equipaje de mano||carry-on luggage,hand luggage|
|escribir a mano||write by hand|
|extender la mano, tender la mano||hold out your hand, offer your hand|
|hecho a mano||handmade|
|ir cogidos de la mano||walk hand in hand|
|ir de la mano||go hand in hand|
|ir de la mano||work together|
|ir de la mano con||go hand in hand with|
|írsele la mano||go too far, get out of hand|
|leantar la mano grupo||raise your hand|
|línea de la mano||palm line|
|llear de la mano||take by the hand, lead by the hand|
|maletín de mano grupo||carry-on luggage, hand luggage|
|mano a mano||hand in hand|
|mano amiga||lifeline, helping hand|
|mano contraria||weaker hand|
|mano de obra||labour,workforce|
|más vale pájaro en mano que ciento volando||a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush|
|matrimonio de la mano izquierda||interclass marriage|
|meter la mano en la lata||put your hand in the till|
|pedir la mano de||ask for [sb]'s hand|
|petición de mano||proposal|
|robo a mano armada||armed robbery|
|romper la mano||get practice, gain practice|
|saber de primera mano||know first-hand, know firsthand|
|ser la mano derecha de alguien||be [sb]´s right arm|
|siempre a mano||always available, always on hand|
|te brindo mi mano||I offer you a hand, I offer you my help|
|tender una mano||lend [sb] a hand, give [sb] a hand|
|tener a alguien comiendo de su mano||have [sb] eating from the palm of your hand|
|tener a mano||have [sth] on hand|
|tener la mano de trapo, tener manos de mantequilla||be a butterfingers|
|tener mano firme||have a firm hand|
|tomar de la mano||take [sb] by the hand|
|venta de segunda mano||secondhand sale|
|votación a mano alzada||show of hands|
Why have I repeated "la mano" so much?
The key to learning any foreign language is repitition.
After all, it is the way that you learned your own language. As a child, you were continually exposed to, say, English and in this way you slowly but surely absorbed the language.
When you are learning a foreign language, such as Spanish, this constant exposure is not the case, unless you are living in the country.
Since you do not have continuous exposure to the language (click on this link for a blog post on how you can increase your exposure to a foreign language), unnatural repetition of the language is key.
Hence lots of repetition of the word la mano in this article.
By seeing it, and being alert to the possibility that some words ending in Spanish in -o can be masculine, will much improve your chances of remembering that la mano is feminine.
Another technique that I have used it in this post is to draw your attention to the la by using different colours and fonts.
Finally, I would strongly recommend that when you are learning lists of new nouns you learn them with the corresponding el or la. I see lots of material on the internet that does not do this - it is not helpful for the language learner.
Especially for an English speaker where this whole el / la concept is alien.
You tube video on "is la mano" masculine or feminine?
Here is a youtube video I have put together on the question is la mano masculine and feminine.
Please click on the link and enjoy!
How do you pronounce "la mano"?
Please click on the link here, when you can hear how to pronounce la mano.
Click here for more on Spanish words that work like "la mano"
Are you telling me that there are more words like "la mano" in the Spanish language?
Well, yes, I suppose, I am!
Click on the link for more of these deceptive and mischievous rascals and enjoy (if that's the correct word ....!)
Here is a link to Spanish words that end in -ma and are, in fact masculine.
So there you have it.
It's "la mano"
And, if you have read this page all the way through and clicked on the links ....
The answer to the question is mano masculine or feminine will be clear.
It is feminine!