- Relating to or composed of more than one member, set, or kind: the plural meanings of a text; a plural society.
- Grammar Of or being a grammatical form that designates more than one of the things specified.
- The plural number or form.
- A word or term in the plural form.
Origin of plural
Middle English plurel from
Old French from
Latin plūrālis from plūs plūr- more
; see pelə-1
in Indo-European roots.
Related Forms: Our Living Language
In English, plurals of nouns are normally indicated by the ending -s
or in a few cases by -en,
as in children
Some vernacular varieties of English do not use plural endings in measurement phrases such as three mile
and ten pound.
This zero plural has a long history and was not formerly as socially stigmatized as it is today. It appears in literary works dating from the Middle English period to the present day, including works of dialect writers, such as this example from Mark Twain's Huck Finn
: “The nearest white settlement warnt nearer nor four mile.”
• In adjectival constructions even Standard English has no -s
plural: a five-pound box of candy
is acceptable, whereas a five-pounds box
is not. These adjective phrases derive from an -a
suffix in Old English that marked plural adjectives. This ending has long since fallen away, leaving behind the unmarked root forms. • The absence of -s
in the plural form of animal names ( hunting for bear, a herd of buffalo
) probably arose by analogy with animals like deer
whose plurals have been unmarked since the earliest beginnings of the English language. foot
(comparative more plural, superlative most plural)
- Consisting of or containing more than one of something.
- (comparable) Pluralistic.
- (grammar): a word in the form in which it potentially refers to something other than one person or thing; and other than two things if the language has a dual form.
- Many languages have singular and plural forms for one item or more than one item. Some have a singular form for one, dual form for two, trial form for three, paucal form for several, and plural for more than two (e.g., Arabic, Fijian).
- While the plural form generally refers to two or more persons or things, that is not always the case. The plural form is often used for zero persons or things, for fractional things in a quantity greater than one, and for people or things when the quantity is unknown.
- In English, the plural is most often formed simply by adding the letter "s" to the end of a noun, e.g. apple/apples. There are many exceptions, however, such as echo/echoes, mouse/mice, child/children, deer/deer (same word), etc.
From Middle English plurelle, from Old French plurel (“plural"), from Latin pluralis (“of or belonging to more than one, belonging to many", adjective), from plus, pluris (“more") + -alis.