Italian Language/use of: "carnivora"


Dear Maria,  

My question is about the Italian word - “carnivora”.

I understand that “carnivora” can be the feminine form of the masculine adjective “carnivoro” meaning “carnivorous”.   

I am wondering if “carnivora” is also a feminine noun that refers to a female flesh eating animal.  

I ask this question because my dictionary identifies “carnivoro” as a masculine noun, but does not include an entry for “carnivora” as a feminine noun.

I also ask this question because my dictionary listing for “erbivoro” includes both a masculine noun – “erbivoro” and a feminine noun - “erbivora”.  I was wondering why there is not a similar listing for the feminine noun - “carnivora”.

Thank you very much.  I really appreciate your help.



Dear Rich,

the Italian word “carnivora” is exactly  the feminine form of the masculine adjective “carnivoro” meaning “carnivorous”.   

Anyway in Italian the word  “carnivoro”  is both a masculine  noun (plural “carnivori”) and an adjective agreeing with the noun it refers to, differently from English where “carnivorous” is an adjective, while “carnivore” is a noun.

See e.g.:”Un animale carnivoro” (a carnivorous/flesh eating animal); “Una pianta carnivora (A carnivorous plant); “In natura c’č equilibrio tra carnivori, erbivori e onnivori”(The natural world requires a balance of carnivores, omnivores and herbivores);“Un carnivoro di solito mangia preferibilmente la carne” ( A carnivore is used to eat meat) where the masculine noun  “carnivoro” indicates a person who is not a vegetarian.

Similarly,  “erbivoro” is both a masculine noun (herbivore, in English)  and an adjective (herbivorous, in English)  agreeing with the noun it refers to, as in e.g. “un animale erbivoro” (herbivorous animal); “ Le mucche e le pecore appartengono agli  erbivori” (Cows and sheep are herbivores), etc.

Best regards,


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