"orden" can be both a masculine and feminine noun

  • Hi,

    I recently came across a card that had the word orden as answer. See the following screenshot:

    0_1529264558586_Screenshot from 2018-06-17 21-30-05.png
    The required word was described masculine, but when I looked up the orden in various online dictionaries (e.g. wiktionary, Diccionario de la lengua española, SpanishDict), I noticed that orden can be both masculine and feminine, and it has different meanings depending on gender.
    However, the way the word orden is used in this card I think the feminine variant is the correct one here, not the masculine one.

  • works@Lingvist


    ¡Hola de nuevo!

    Even though some of the feminine acceptations can be used in the masculine, they do not apply to the context sentence we are discussing as they refer to either archaic or religious uses of the term.

    If I say Hay una orden especial en esta empresa in any Spanish-speaking context, it would be understood as a command or a direct order (feminine 17), not to the structure and/or rules (masculine 3) followed, that is why the feminine form makes no practical sense in this context (there is a command/order given by whom? We'd be talking about the existence of "a command/order in a company", which does not make sense in this context).

    In order to clarify it a bit further, I'll give you two more examples:

    Van a expulsar al soldado del ejército por no obedecer las órdenes (commands) de sus superiores.
    La orden (religious order) del Temple tenía un orden (order as rule or structure: sense 3 RAE) jerárquico muy estricto.

    ¡Feliz aprendizaje!

  • Thanks for your detailed reply!
    By quoting Diccionario de la REA, you have convinced me that the masculine form of orden can be correct in the context of the sentence we are discussing, but it is quite subtle. I couldn't find anything corresponding to sense 3 of the word's definition in DREA in the online English-Spanish dictionaries I tried. And I am not convinced that sense 17 in DREA (mandato que se debe obedecer, observar y ejecutar) couldn't match the example sentence as well.
    Additionally, the first 4 acceptations in DREA are followed by the remark "Era usado también como femenino". Which suggests to me that using the female form of orden would also be correct even if you are using sense 3.

  • works@Lingvist


    Thanks for sharing your linguistic questions with the Lingvist community!

    Regarding your post, the word orden in its masculine form is correct in the context provided: it matches sense 3 of the word's definition in the Diccionario de la Real Academia Española (RAE), which, like the first 15 acceptations, is masculine (m.) :

    3. m Regla o modo que se observa para hacer las cosas. (which usually translates into English as "order").

    The feminine acceptations of the term are those with an "f" at the beginning of the definition (numbers 16 - 20), which, as you can see, do not match the example sentence. In this case, the most common feminine sense is number 17, which translates into English as "order" or "command".

    ¡Feliz aprendizaje!

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