sheep = غَنَم

غَنَم (plural أَغْنَام ) is a collective noun meaning sheep and goats. It is an اِسمُ جَمْع , which means that it is the type of collective for which there is no singular from the same root (like إِبِل camels). So we cannot add a ة and form غَنَمَة to mean a sheep or a goat, although in modern Arabic this non-classical form has become quite common. If we want to refer to a single member of the collective, we have to use a completely separate word (as is also the case with إِبِل : for a camel we say جَمَل ) – شَاة (plural شَاء and شِيَاه ) can mean both a sheep and a goat, although it is usually used for the former. It can be used for both the male and the female, so we can say هذَا شَاة this is a male sheep/goat and also هذِهِ شَاة this is a female sheep/goat. If we want to disambiguate, we can use the collective nouns ضَأْن sheep and مَعْز goats. These are collective nouns from which a singular may be formed (i.e. اِسْمُ جِنْسٍ جَمْعِيّ ), although it is not done so in the usual manner of adding a ة , but rather from the former we form ضَائِن a sheep, and from the latter we form مَاعِز a goat.