Friday, March 25, 2011

When Grammarians Attack

The three surprisingly correct ways to describe your favorite eight-legged Cephalopods - the Octopus:
Merriam-Webster editor Kory Stamper explains the fascinating history behind my favorite hair-pulling, knee-capping Internet debate. Two surprising lessons here. First, all three plural forms of octopus can be considered correct. That's right, everybody. We can stop having this argument now.

Second, and more embarrassingly, it turns out that I've been mispronouncing "octopodes" for years. Whoops.

Hat-tip, Maggie Koerth-Baker.
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  1. Learn something new every single day! Especially here. :) I thought it was a Latin word and should be octopi.

    Slapping my hand.

  2. It's always been octopuses. And, whilst that is not Latin, forums is, and yet I say forums and not fora, because this is English and not Latin. And language evolves, or, like Latin, dies.

    So, octopodes ... even in my English days, I never used that. LOL.

  3. I'm from Wisconsin and have never seen one live octopus, much less multiples of them. But it's always fun to see how language works, and how it doesn't, and how people lose their minds over it.

  4. Oh, I am *so* practicing my British accent so I can use "octopodes."

  5. I spelled it right, but had I ever spoken the word, I would have said OK-toe-POADS. I actually LOVE the Greek pronunciation and will SO use this whole grammaric argument in fiction because I have a LOT of marine scientists as characters! Thanks. This was great.

  6. Loved this! I had never heard of octopodes. Fun info, Phy. Thanks!

  7. Octopodes was new to me too. I've always said that English is crazy! Proof positive, right here. :)

  8. I'm an octopuses kinda gal, but I don't have much opportunity to use the word anyway. I gave up on growing six more arms years ago.

  9. So, if the Greek plural of octopodes, is the plural of hippopotamus, hippopotamodes?