Plural of Octopus
The Quick AnswerThe plural of octopus is octopuses.
The Plural of OctopusThe plural of octopus is octopuses.
- Octopuses have a relatively short life expectancy, with some species living for as little as six months.
- Large octopuses have been known to catch and kill some species of sharks.
The table below shows the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English.
|Type||Example of Type||Forming the Plural||Plural|
|Most Nouns|| lamp
|add s|| lamps
|Noun Ending s, sh, ch, x or z|| octopus
|add es|| octopuses
|Nouns ending [consonant] o|| hero
|add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
|Nouns ending [vowel] o|| patio
|add s|| patios
|Nouns ending [consonant] y|| story
|change the y to an i and add es|| stories
|Nouns ending [vowel] y|| donkey
|add s|| donkey
|Nouns ending f or fe|| dwarf
|ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
hooves or hoofs
|some nouns undergo a vowel or letters change|| men
|More exceptions|| salmon
|some nouns do not change at all|| salmon
|Foreign rulings|| cactus
|some nouns adopt foreign rulings|| cacti
Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Octopus?Confusion arises over the plural of octopus because many believe it is a Latin noun that should be pluralized with an i (just like cactus becomes cacti).
Through common usage (even though incorrect), octopi is becoming an accepted plural for octopus. Nevertheless, the safest version to use is octopuses. (See the difference in Google's Ngram Viewer.)