Plural of Belly

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
The plural of belly is bellies.

The Plural of Belly

The plural of belly is bellies.
  • "Jimmy 10 Bellies," from Tyne and Wear in England, lost 10 inches off his waist. Looking trim with his new 34-inch waist, he said: "When I started my diet, it was the first time I'd had fish without batter."
  • Is is true that cows have four bellies? No, a cow has four stomachs that are used to break down the coarse food they eat.
The noun belly adheres to the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English (shown in the table below).

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The Standard Rules for Forming the Plurals

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
scythe
add s lamps
scythes
Noun Ending s, sh, ch, x or z bus
dress
add es buses
dresses
Nouns ending [consonant] o hero
zero
tomato
add either s or es
(There are no rules for this - you have to know.)
heroes
zeros
tomatoes
Nouns ending [vowel] o patio
ratio
add s patios
ratios
Nouns ending [consonant] y story
belly
change the y to an i and add es stories
bellies
Nouns ending [vowel] y valley
chimney
add s valleys
chimneys
Nouns ending f or fe dwarf
hoof
ves and/or s
(There are no rules - you have to know.)
dwarfs
hooves or hoofs
Exceptions man
louse
some nouns undergo a vowel or letters change men
lice
More exceptions salmon
sheep
some nouns do not change at all salmon
sheep
Read more about English spelling rules.

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Belly?

Bellies is the only way to make the noun belly plural.

Confusion arises because a noun that ends [vowel] + "y" (e.g., valley) forms its plural by adding just "s" (e.g., valleys).

Also some people question whether bellies is the same word as belies, which means is not in keeping with.

Not Belly's

You cannot use belly's as the plural.

Read more about apostrophe abuse.

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See Also

Unusual pluralsPlural forming table Quirks with forming plurals Forming the plurals of abbreviations Forming the plurals of compound nouns

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