Well-meaning people may tell you that -i is a Latin plural, but "octopus" comes from the Greek. Octopodes, it should be noted, takes a slightly different pronunciation than the other two words, placing the emphasis on the second syllable, rather than the first. And from the Online Etymology Dictionary: octopus (n.) The plural form of octopus is octopuses (or occasionally octopodes). You have been successfully subscribed to the Grammarly blog. In Latin, some plurals end with an i. How Octopi Took Possession Of Schooner. The i was a mistake, but so many people adopted it that it became an acceptable alternative. Why do some dictionaries also list octopi as a possibility? 1880. Whistleblower changes tune, again, president-elect Some daring spirits with little Latin and less Greek, rushed upon octopi; as for octopuses, a man would as soon think of swallowing one of the animals thus described as pronounce such a word at a respectable tea-table. How do you make octopus plural? Even so, "octopi" is a misspelling based on a misconception. Octopus definition, any octopod of the genus Octopus, having a soft, oval body and eight sucker-bearing arms, living mostly at the bottom of the sea. octopus. ), 23 Aug. 1834. It is the most commonly-accepted plural form of octopus. Large octopuses have been known to catch and kill some species of sharks. This state of affairs is not so much the fault of the English language as it is of the people who speak it, who have been debating the proper way to pluralize octopus for a very long time. The plural is octopuses. Set your young readers up for lifelong success, Study Up With Our Official SCRABBLE Dictionary. The standard plural in English of octopus is octopuses. Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free! Tone vs. Modern usage of octopodes is so infrequent that many people mistakenly create the erroneous plural form octopi, formed according to rules for Latin plurals. The plural of octopus is almost as fascinating as the animal. Lastly, octopodes stems from the belief that because octopus is … An article from over 140 years ago, "Octopus Philology" (titled in the clickbait of that era) offers three possibilities, admittedly sneering at two of them: But as the Octopus grew and multiplied, it became necessary to speak of him in the plural; and here a whole host of difficulties arose. However, a grammatical movement at the time, which sought to standardise the English language, assigned many of the Latin words used in English their proper Latin plural endings. C'mon, English, get your act together." Biden projected 46th President. The -i ending comes from the belief that words of Latin origin should have Latin ending in English (while octopus may ultimately come from Greek it had a stay in New Latin before arriving here). Octopus stems from the Greek word oktopous, and technically, Greek words ending in -pus (like platypus) should be made plural by adding -podes (meaning feet) to the end. What more can you learn about plurals and spelling? The rarest of the three, octopodes came into possession of its ending from the belief some people had that this is a Greek word and should have a Greek ending (and also from the belief that there is no word which cannot be improved by making it less comprehensible). But it is always better to be prepared with your irregular faux-classical plurals—good life advice in general, really—so here is a brief explanation of your choices. Octopuses is the next plural, which gives the word an English ending to match its adoption as an English word. How do you make octopus plural? If you're interested in choosing the word that is most likely to be considered correct and understandable by your audience you would do well to opt for either octopuses or octopi. The three main plurals for octopus come from the different ways the English language adopts plurals. "Octopi" is also an acceptable choice, and one in wide use, but you run the risk of being informed that it's incorrect. However, the word octopus comes from Greek and the Greek plural form octopodes is still occasionally used. ", monolith The plural form octopi, formed according to rules for some Latin plurals, is incorrect. One of the most effective of these is a method of pluralization that generally follows a set of rules, but occasionally behaves unpredictably. Object found in Utah desert, recant After all, similar words that end in -us are pluralized with an -i ending, like foci, loci or alumni. However, sometimes words will come into English and keep an ending from their original language, particularly if that original language is Latin. As the Merriam-Webster dictionary points out, people use three different terms, however: octopi, octopuses, and octopodes. The current champion in the Battle of Troublesome Pluralization is octopus, which, depending on which dictionary is consulted, may be written in three different ways: octopi, octopuses, and octopodes. ), 7 Nov. 1873. The correct forms are octopuses, octopodes, or octopi. 1873, All three of these have been criticized in the past, some more than others. However, the word octopus comes from Greek, and the Greek plural form is octopodes. People are up in arms about it. 'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'? With more than a 250 species, octopuses are members of an ancient group of animals called cephalopods. Such a range of options might prompt even the most patient learner of the language to say "what the hell? The problem is, octopus derives from Greek. And just to keep people on their toes, certain words of Latin extraction may be pluralized with either English or Latin endings: multiple stadium may be either stadia or stadiums. How to use a word that (literally) drives some pe... Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? In 1818, then, ‘octopus’ was given the plural ‘octopi’. Find more words! 'Nip it in the butt' or 'Nip it in the bud'. 16 Apr. Accordingly, the plural for ‘octopus’ became ‘octopuses’. Delivered to your inbox! Octopi is the oldest plural of octopus, coming from the belief that Latin origins should have Latin endings. There are many ways that English manages to trip up its speakers, both native and non-native. Thus, the plural of bacterium is bacteria, rather than bacteriums. "— The Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, AR), 20 Oct. 1886. It’s simple! The plural form of octopus is the animal version of there, their, they’re. In this condition of affairs, we are glad to know that a few resolute people have begun to talk about Octopods, which is, of course, the nearest English approach to the proper plural.— The Bradford Observer (West Yorkshire, Eng. Like many nouns, it has a few acceptable plural forms. The plural form of octopus is octopuses or octopi (hypercorrect). Learn a new word every day. More exactly, the word "octopus", which defines a sea creature with eight long arms, doesn't even originate from ), 5 Sept. 1879, There will be no huge tanks filled with mere "show" monsters—wallowing porpoises and cherub-like turtles and grim octopodes.— The Daily Telegraph (London, Eng.) Since “octopus” is a Greek word, the correct plural is NOT “octopi”, a Latin plural structure. Octopus is not a simple Latin word of the second declension , but a Latinized form of the Greek word oktopous , and its ‘correct’ plural would logically be octopodes . Octopuses have a relatively short life expectancy, with some species living for as little as six months. The plural of octopus is octopuses . We would go with "octopuses," a perfectly legitimate English plural, and the oldest attested to. Find more words! Although it is often supposed that octopi is the ‘correct’ plural of octopus, and it has been in use for longer than the usual Anglicized plural octopuses, it in fact originates as an error. Octopi, the supposed plural of octopus, is a favorite among fans of quirky words, but it has no etymological basis.The form was created by English speakers out of a mistaken belief that octopus is Latin and hence pluralized with an -i ending. It appears that the keeper, whilst engaged in cleaning out the tank occupied by the octopodes, was suddenly seized by the leg (fortunately he had sea boots on) by the largest of the octopodes, which fastened four of his tentacles round the leg of the boot, and with the other four held firmly on to the rocks forming the back of the tank.— The North-Eastern Gazette (Middlesbrough, Eng. Finding out the plural form of the word octopus, though, is going to require a little linguistic detective work. Many people don’t like octopi, and you will rarely see it in edited works, but it does occasionally appear. Check out words from the year you were born and more! Octopi appears to be the oldest of the three main plurals, dating back to the early 19th century.
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