Origin of moose; from Eastern Abenaki mos
nounpl. moose moose
Origin of mooseEastern Abenaki mos.
(plural moose or mooses or meese)
- The use of moose in the plural is sometimes problematic. The regularly formed plural, mooses, is by now rare and its use may be regarded as irksome and uneuphonious. The form meese—formed by analogy with goose → geese—will in most cases be greeted with a snigger, and is thus generally only appropriate in humorous contexts; even pragmatics notwithstanding, because moose has Algonquian origins—wholly unrelated to the Germanic roots of goose, on whose pattern the plural meese is formed—an umlaut plural form is etymologically inconsistent. The etymologically consistent plural form would be *mosinee, but this plural form sees no use in English. In ordinary common usage, moose is treated as an invariant noun, which means its plural is also moose (as with the names of many animals, such as deer and fish, which are also invariant); however, this usage can sometimes be considered stilted when a group of more than one moose are considered individually, in which case avoidance of the plural may be the best option, necessitating the employment of a circumlocution.
Earlier mus, moos, from a Northeastern Algonquian language name for the animal, such as Massachusett moos, mws (cognate to Narragansett moos, Penobscot mos, Abenaki moz), from moos-u (“he strips, cuts smooth”), from Proto-Algonquian *mo·swa, referring to how a moose strips tree bark when feeding.
- (obsolete, rare) A stew.
From Dutch moes.