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Re: OT: Plural of octopus


Ian wrote:

>Ann, you are correct in your statement that the word octypus comes from
>the Greek and that the Greek plural is octypodes.  I would suggest,
>however, that this plural is very rarely used, even in Australia. 

Yes, you are right in thinking that it's rarely used.  I must confess, my
reason for using it comes from a book I read at an early age.  I can't
remember the title, but it was a children's book by Eric Linklater.  One of
the main characters was an octopus, who got very upset whenever anyone used
a plural other than octopodes.  My father, who has some knowledge of both
Greek and Latin, confirmed that this was a legitimate plural, so my sister
and I have used it ever since!  It's amazing the effect a work of fiction
can have on impressionable young minds...

>Again, the OED states that the plural of iris are both irides and irises
>with approximately the same etymology, however, it also states that the
>use of irides is usually restricted to the eye.

Thank you for clarifying this usage for us.

Ann Pearce
Adelaide, South Australia.






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