Plural of Dictionary

by Craig Shrives
The Quick Answer
The plural of dictionary is dictionaries.

The Plural of Dictionary

The plural of dictionary is dictionaries.
  • Spellings are made by people. Dictionaries - eventually - reflect popular choices.
  • People are under the impression that dictionaries legislate language. What a dictionary does is keep track of usages over time.
The noun dictionary adheres to the standard rules for forming the plurals of nouns in English (shown in the table below).

Are You Good at Plurals?

Here's a quick test.
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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 dictionary
penny
change the y to an i and add es dictionaries
pennies
Nouns ending [vowel] y journey
donkey
add s journeys
donkeys
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

Why Is There Confusion over the Plural of Dictionary?

Dictionaries is the only way to make the noun dictionary plural.

Confusion arises because people mistakenly believe that only an s needs to be added (like with donkeys). However, when a noun ends with [consonant] + y, you need to change the y to an i and add es to form the plural.

Another Interactive Exercise
Here are three randomly selected questions from another exercise on plurals, which can be edited, printed to create an exercise worksheet, or sent via email to friends or students.

See Also

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