Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird

Inflections, Again

23 December 2005

Back when there was the virus/viri/virii/viruses/virus and octopus/octopi/octopodes/octopuses debate on the Rails list, somehow I missed this article on my husband’s web site. In short, in classical Latin usage, virus was an uncountable noun, thus its lack of a definitive plural. It is only the change in usage that renders a plural necessary.

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