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The Most Correct Pluralization of "Octopus"


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You might be thinking the most correct pluralization of "octopus" is "octopi." You'd be wrong.

"us" to "i" is a Latin invention and that works well and good for words with Latin origin, but "octopus" isn't Latin. It's Greek. That leaves us with the Greek form of pluralization.

"Octopodes"

This is the only word I know of that goes from "us" to "odes" in the English language.

"Octopus" and "octopi" are both fine and acceptable according to Webster, but now you know the original pluralization of the word.

This video explains it well.
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I still am under the impression that the Greek plural octopodes is not used in the English language. Your argument is useful in debunking the wrong pluralization that is "octopi" although this quirky plural form is a favorite. Octopuses should be the English plural of octopus.

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I never knew that "octopodes" is the correct plural form of octopus, as the latter term has Greek origins.  However, people are not about to accept "octopodes" right away as the plural, as they have been used to the current plural forms "octopuses" or "octopi" when describing eight-legged marine molluscs.  No matter how incorrect may be the pluralization, the customary usage points to "octopuses" as the more frequently used plural form.

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Not to say octopodes is the wrong English pluralization for octopus but the only one I was familiar with  was octopuses. The others I am still not certain would be ok to use in English.

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This is what OED says on ''usage'' in the entry ''octopus'': http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/octopus

noun (plural octopuses)

''The standard plural in English of octopus is octopuses. However, the word octopus comes from Greek and the Greek plural form octopodes is still occasionally used. The plural form octopi, formed according to rules for some Latin plurals, is incorrect.''

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