Москва, Калуга, Пенза, Кострома

All these toponyms end on -a and, as far as I know, they are all feminine.

However, I know that in Russian some nouns ending on -a can be masculine:

ябеда, неряха, голова, воевода, непоседа, жадина

including some forms of proper nouns:

Петруха, Серёжа, Саша, Вова, Миша

Аre there any masculine toponyms in Russian ending on -a?

  • The nouns ending in -a that you call masculine are both masculine and feminine (except голова is just feminine as far as I was aware), and are called nouns of common gender (общий род) instead of being strictly masculine. I think папа and дядя are better examples of masculine nouns that end with -a.
    – KCd
    Aug 19, 2013 at 17:03
  • @KCd - I meant голова in the old military sense, similar to "воевода". Although they are of common gender, I find it rather hard to imagine a female "воевода", same with such ones like "возница", "верзила" и "мужчина"
    – brilliant
    Aug 19, 2013 at 17:21

4 Answers 4


From Russian National Corpus: Шарлеруа, Гоа (Старый Гоа).

Also in India: округ Кришна. Probably other Indian toponyms ending with -кришна, -рама, -раджа may be recognized in Russian as masculine.

Also in Turkey: everything ending with -паша, for ex. Байрампаша, Мустафакемальпаша.


Most of nouns ending with () have feminine gender. Exceptions are:

  • words that mean men: воевода, слуга, папа
  • words with -ин- suffix (увеличительный субъективно-оценочный суффикс): мостина, домина
  • words ending with -мя: * пла­мя, имя, бремя, стремя*
  • дитя.


So, when a toponym ends with , it is considered feminine by default.

Foreign toponyms behave differently. When a foreign toponym ends with , it is usually declined according to feminine gender. But the following cases produce indeclinable nouns:

  • toponyms adopted from French while they ends with -a in French: Гра, Спа, Ле-Дора, Юра
  • toponyms adopted from Estonian, Finnish: Ювяскюля, Сааремаа
  • toponyms adopted from Spanish and other Romanic languages while ending -a is unaccented: Баия-Бланка, Баия-Лaypa, Херес-­де-ла-Фронтера, Сантьяго-де-Куба, Пола-де-Лена, Сантьяго-де-Компостела
  • some toponyms adopted from Abkhazian and Georgian while ending -a is unaccented.


We can't say that these words have feminine gender. The gender is neuter at best. But when such city names are used with adjectives, the "город" word is used or implied so the adjective stands in masculine form: знаменитый (город) Гра. For rivers, etc this can vary.


This is an excellent question. Actually, it is touching a very, very reach issue. The morphology of toponyms in Russian is indeed a bit complicated. Some forms originally not ending on -a (like Warsaw) have such ending in Russian. Some (like Roma), on contrary, lose original -a ending.

Off the top of my head it was really hard to name any example of such masculine toponym. But finally I found one pattern which definitely fulfill your requirements. One-syllable words which do not have inclination tends to be masculine. Example - the famous Спа city. It is de-facto more often used in masculine.

Compare how it sounds: "Старинный Спа" versus "Старинная Спа". First form sounds more natural to native speaker.


Actually there is Воевода bay in Primorye (Russian Island), http://maps.yandex.ru/-/CVbeyNiF. I think you can find lots of other examples of this kind.

  • I think I am looking here at toponyms of a город or of a посёлок, that is, the word describing the place must be masculine in Russian. The word бухта ('bay') is feminine.
    – brilliant
    Aug 27, 2013 at 7:50
  • Well, neighbor bays Аякс, Парис, Новик are masculine. Aug 27, 2013 at 7:59
  • 1
    There is поселок Воевода in Belarus
    – Artemix
    Aug 27, 2013 at 9:05
  • Also looks like поселок Воевода is situated on Остров Русский (though it is administratively a part of Владивосток city): "Условия остались прежними: дорога на острове Русском, протяженностью 28,7 км от Коммунальной зоны до поселка Экипажный — затем до Подножья, от Подножья до Рынды, и далее, до поселка Воевода и домов в бухте Боярин."
    – Artemix
    Aug 27, 2013 at 9:13
  • @SergeyKirienko - "Well, neighbor bays Аякс, Парис, Новик are masculine" - But neither "Аякс", nor "Парис", nor "Новик" end on "-а"
    – brilliant
    Aug 27, 2013 at 10:51

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