One of the most effective of these is a method of pluralization that generally follows a set of rules, but occasionally behaves unpredictably. Although most people use the word octopuses as the plural form of an octopus, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ‘octopuses’ and ‘octopi’ are both correct and the plural of octopus. The problem is, octopus derives from Greek. A fourth form octopods is occasionally used by scientists for taxonomic purposes. Interesting. However, “octopus” actually comes from Greek, so it later got the super-rare pluralization, “octopodes” (pronounced ock-TOP-uh-deez). /ˈɒktəpəs/. More exactly, the word "octopus", which defines a sea creature with eight long arms, doesn't even originate from But it isn't, so octopi is wrong. Currently, octopuses is the most common form in the UK as well as the US; octopodes is rare, and octopi is often objected to as incorrect. This seems extraordinarily unfair: A dull-looking fish lives for centuries while the cuttlefish, in their chromatic splendor, and the, Sealy also said that drainage pipes combine two things. Check out words from the year you were born and more! Octopuses (which may rarely also be found rendered as octopusses) dates from slightly later in the 19th century, and is based not so much on a belief as it is on the habit of giving English words English endings. Well-meaning people may tell you that -i is a Latin plural, but "octopus" comes from the Greek. Even so, "octopi" is a misspelling based on a misconception. The three main plurals for octopus come from the different ways the English language adopts plurals. There are four plural forms of "octopus": octopuses, octopodes, octopi, and octopii (note that the fourth isn't common at all). So, you see, if octopuswere an English word, the plural form would obviously just be octopuses, since it is a noun ending in ⟨s⟩ and, in English, the way you find the plural form of such a noun is just by adding -esto the end. 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. Octopus, plural octopuses or octopi, in general, any eight-armed cephalopod (octopod) mollusk of the order Octopoda. 'All Intensive Purposes' or 'All Intents and Purposes'? 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. The standard plural form in both American and British English has come to be octopuses, which has predominated for the last 100 years. We Got You This Article on 'Gift' vs. 'Present', Study Up With Our Official SCRABBLE Dictionary. 1 : any of a genus (Octopus) of cephalopod mollusks that have eight muscular arms equipped with two rows of suckers broadly : any octopod excepting the paper nautilus. The most popular plural form is octopuses. ), 23 Aug. 1834. noun. The standard plural in English of octopus is octopuses, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Writing, grammar, and communication tips for your inbox. something likened to an octopus, as an organization with many forms of far-reaching influence or control. any octopod of the genus Octopus, having a soft, oval body and eight sucker-bearing arms, living mostly at the bottom of the sea. However, the word octopus comes from Greek, and the Greek plural form is octopodes ( |äk'täp??dez|). "Octopi" is mentioned by some dictionaries as an acceptable plural form of "octopus" because several words originating from Latin end in "i" in their plural form. How to use a word that (literally) drives some pe... Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words? See more. The i was a mistake, but so many people adopted it that it became an acceptable alternative. If you ask any group of people on the street, “What do you call more than oneoctopus”, most of the people in that group will probably say octopuses. As a word that comes from Greek, it follows Greek rules for plurals. Object found in Utah desert, recant Like many nouns, it has a few acceptable plural forms. What more can you learn about plurals and spelling? 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. The plural form of octopus is octopuses or octopi. Octopi appears to be the oldest of the three main plurals, dating back to the early 19th... English Endings for English Words. 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). 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. You have been successfully subscribed to the Grammarly blog. 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! a sea creature with a soft round body and eight long arms, that is sometimes used for food Topics Fish and shellfish c1. 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. When octopus is used in a figurative sense ("something that resembles an octopus especially in having many centrally directed branches") this seems to be the preferred plural. 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. enlarge image. Grammatically speaking, the plural for octopus is octopuses. The Many Plurals of 'Octopus' Latin Endings for Latin Words. Macon Telegraph (Macon, GA), 24 Jun. The possessive of each of them would follow the same rules as any other noun: octopuses', octopodes', octopi's, octopii's. Octopi, the supposed plural of octopus, is a favorite among fans of quirky words, but it has no etymological basis. Tone vs. 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. Advice: stick with octopuses in the U.S. How do you make octopus plural? ", Our Word of the Year 'pandemic,' plus 11 more, monolith Many people don’t like octopi, and you will rarely see it in edited works, but it does occasionally appear. How Octopi Took Possession Of Schooner. Finding out the plural form of the word octopus, though,is going to require a little linguistic detective work. In Latin, some plurals end with an i. 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. "Octopi" is a commonly used plural, and it seems to make sense. Set your young readers up for lifelong success. The problem is, octopus derives from Greek. The true octopuses are members of the genus Octopus, a large group of widely distributed shallow-water cephalopods. Learn more. 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 form octopi, formed according to rules for some Latin plurals, is incorrect And from the Online Etymology Dictionary: octopus (n.) The plural of octopus is almost as fascinating as the animal. pi [ok-tuh-pahy]. The plural is octopuses. Our language takes words from a wide variety of sources; generally when a noun enters into English it is pluralized as an English word, rather than in its native form. Octopi appears to be the oldest of the three main plurals, dating back to the early 19th century. Incident of a Voyage in the Banda Sea—An Octopus Who Is Injured by a Sailor Calls Upon His Companions for Help—They Respond Promptly, and a Gang of Octopi Take Control of the Deck of the Vessel, Driving the Crew Below.— (headline and caption) Chicago Daily Tribune, 15 Jan. 1888, It is certain that the octopi do attain to a very large size in the Indian seas; and there is nothing improbable in their taking hold of a man and drowning him.— Penny Magazine for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (London, Eng. The word \"octopi,\" which follows Latin rules for plurals, is incorrect.Not all octopuses have long arms. ), 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.) Grammatical movements and language origins complicate the plurals of some words. C'mon, English, get your act together." Shall we have the grammatical discourse first, or save it for later? The plural is octopuses. 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. 2. The plural of “octopus” is finally clarified. BESEIGED BY DEVILFISH. 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). ), 7 Nov. 1873. 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. octopus definition: 1. a sea creature with a soft, oval body and eight tentacles (= long parts like arms) 2. a sea…. Learn a new word every day. 1880. While this is true, the word in fact went from Greek to Latin, and only then to English. The form was created by English speakers out of a mistaken belief that octopus is Latin and hence pluralized with an -i ending. pi (-pī′) 1. USAGE The standard English plural of octopus is octopuses. octopi is neither the English plural nor the classical plural.octopi is what you get if you take octopus to be a second declension Latin noun. However, the word octopus comes from Greek and the Greek plural form octopodes is still occasionally used. Thus, the plural of bacterium is bacteria, rather than bacteriums. Given that most people don't often encounter multiple specimens of this genus of cephalopod mollusks it is unlikely that you will ever find yourself in sudden need of deciding which plural form is correct. Delivered to your inbox! However, sometimes words will come into English and keep an ending from their original language, particularly if that original language is Latin. Whistleblower changes tune, again, president-elect After all, similar words that end in -us are pluralized with an -i ending, like foci, loci or alumni. 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. There are many ways that English manages to trip up its speakers, both native and non-native. It more or less rhymes, appropriately enough, with "don't say that please. 2015, He meandered on for fifty minutes in a long and rambling tirade ... adorned with gloomy forebodings of a time near at hand when he, together with all the other horny-handed sons of toil (by the way his hands were very nice and white) would be enslaved, and education denied their children by those "octopuses," the "millionaires. In Latin, some plurals end with an i. "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. 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 Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock, AR), 20 Oct. 1886. 2 : something that resembles an octopus especially in having many centrally directed branches an octopus of a corporation which lends, buys, produces, and sells — Atlantic. The plural form octopi, formed according to rules for some Latin plurals, is incorrect. The standard plural in English of octopus is octopuses. We would go with "octopuses," a perfectly legitimate English plural, and the oldest attested to. Why do some dictionaries also list octopi as a possibility? Lastly, octopodes stems from the belief that because octopus is originally Greek, it should have a Greek ending. Why do some dictionaries also list octopi as a possibility? 1873, All three of these have been criticized in the past, some more than others. Rule of thumb: if English gets the opportunity to trip you up, it will. 'Nip it in the butt' or 'Nip it in the bud'. As the Merriam-Webster dictionary points out, people use three different terms, however: octopi, … Any of various carnivorous marine cephalopod mollusks chiefly of the family Octopodidae, having a soft body, eight arms with suckers, a large distinct head, and a mouth with a strong beak. [countable, uncountable] (plural octopuses) jump to other results. Biden projected 46th President. This gives the tiny octopus the look of an orange ghost.Octopuses are about as smart as house cats. THE PLURAL OF ‘OCTOPUS’ & RELATED CEPHALOPOD MYSTERIES… The correct plural of ‘octopus’ is a singular mystery wrapped in tentacles and hidden beneath a rock. The leading plural form is octopi, which is wrong.The net is not always an authoritative source of information. Mood: How to Use Tone and Mood in Your Writing, 5 Writing "Rules" That Are Really Guidelines, Beware of These Common Consistency Issues in Writing. (See cephalopod.) Octopuses have a relatively short life expectancy, with some species living for as little as six months. While it may sound peculiar to some there is nothing incorrect about this formation. Since octopus is Greek in origin, the classical Greek plural is octopodes, a form that is still occasionally used (but very rarely). Such a range of options might prompt even the most patient learner of the language to say "what the hell? The correct forms are octopuses, octopodes, or octopi. Octopuses is the next plural, which gives the word an English ending to match its adoption as an English word. . 16 Apr. The Opisthoteuthis adorabilis’ arms are very short and have webbing in between each one. There are three plural forms of octopus: octopuses, octopi, and octopodes. The plural form of octopus is octopuses (or occasionally octopodes). The Standard Oil Company, says the Louisville Courier-Journal, is one of the great octopuses of time, absorbing everything that comes within its reach, and quite killing off everything in its own line of business in the way of competition.— /ˈɑːktəpʊs/. The plural form of octopus is octopuses or octopi (hypercorrect). It’s simple! But octopus comes from ancient Greek, where its plural is octopodes, and though it came to English via scientific Latin—one of the late varieties of Latin that … It … Octopi is the oldest plural of octopus, coming from the belief that Latin origins should have Latin endings.