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Re: REF: plural of iris

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <iris-l@rt66.com>
  • Subject: Re: REF: plural of iris
  • From: Chris Hollinshead <cris@netcom.ca>
  • Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 10:45:36 -0600 (MDT)

J. Michael, Celia or Ben Storey wrote:

> Greetings, all. I've missed your chatty company for the past two weeks, but
> now I'm back on-line, eager to batter you with my silly questions once
> again. And here is one that bugs the dickens out of me: Why do so many
> clubs insist upon using "iris" as a plural noun? Where does this custom
> originate? The plural is "irises," is it not?
> Is this practice the verbal equivalent of tea time's pointy pinky, or is
> there  a fascinating linguistic history to be told here?

Chris thinks this out...

Or could it be iris - iri...
..as in octopus - octopi...

Actually, Webster (the dictionary people) say the following:
Main Entry: iris
Pronunciation: 'I-r&s
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural iris7es or iri7des /'I-r&-"dEz, 'ir-&-/
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin irid-, iris rainbow, iris plant, from
Greek, rainbow, iris plant, iris of the eye -- more at WIRE
Date: 15th century
2 [New Latin irid-, iris, from Greek] a : the opaque contractile diaphragm
perforated by the pupil and forming the colored portion of the eye -- see EYE
illustration b : IRIS
DIAPHRAGM; also : a similar device with a circular opening that can be varied
in size
3 or pl iris [New Latin Irid-, Iris, genus name, from Latin] : any of a large
genus (Iris of the family Iridaceae, the iris family) of perennial herbaceous
plants with linear
usually basal leaves and large showy flowers

Christopher Hollinshead
Mississauga, Ontario  Canada  zone6b
AIS(Region 16), CIS, SSI
Director-Canadian Iris Society
Newsletter Editor-Canadian Iris Society
e-mail:  cris@netcom.ca
CIS website:  http://www.netcom.ca/~cris/CIS.html

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