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The Irish fourth declension is made up primarily of masculine nouns; however, abstract nouns ending in a vowel tend to be feminine (eagla, aigne). The nominative singular can end in: a vowel; the diminutive suffix -ín (cailín); a few that end in a consonant (bus, ainm).

There is no special form for the genitive singular. The dative and vocative singular are likewise identical to the nominative singular.

The fourth declension plurals are strong plurals with very few exceptions.

Strong plurals[edit]

A strong plural is characterised by the genitive plural maintaining the same form as the nominative plural.

Strong plural forms found in the fourth declension are:

  • -a/-e: - aí/-í
  • -ín: -iní
  • -le/-ne: -lte/-nte
  • -í, -aoi, -é: -the
  • also:
    • -nna
    • -(n)(e)acha

The first two are the most common.

file (poet) Singular Plural
Nominative file filí
Vocative a fhile a fhilí
Genitive file filí
Dative file filí

Weak plurals[edit]

A weak plural is characterised by the genitive plural having the same form as the nominative singular. There are only a couple of exceptional nouns classed as such in the fourth declension.

(cow) Singular Plural
Nominative ba
Vocative a bhó a bha
Genitive ba
Dative ba


Feminine nouns[edit]

As a general rule, nouns of the fourth declension are masculine.

The feminine nouns are:

Female nouns[edit]

For female nouns of masculine gender, the referential pronoun is feminine: is cailín í.

Nouns ending in consonants other than -ín[edit]

Most nouns of the fourth declension end in vowels or -ín. Nouns with other, consonant endings (with their plural form) include:

Nouns in other declensions ending in vowels[edit]

Nouns listed in italics have forms in both the fourth and other declensions.

Verbal Nouns[edit]

Fifth Declension[edit]

See also[edit]