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January 07, 2008

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So sorry to be dismissive, but that bit about the Prius plural is all complete tosh.

"Prius" as a noun has no plural because it is manufactured by Toyota. The plural is therefore whatever they say it is.

"Prius" as a REAL word is a Latin adverb so talking about its plural is a waste of time...

Eg: JM Latin-English Dictionary
prius ADV: earlier| before| previously| first

Thanks for the mention, Nancy, but loyalty to my employer compels me to note that my column is actually written for the Boston Globe, and only sometimes picked up by the IHT.

And JerryW, of course the discussion is all tosh, and our Priuses will end up with an English plural. But why shouldn't Latin lovers have their fun? According to my experts, prius is not just an adverb but also a comparative adjective. As an adjective, it's neuter (the ending shows) and is declined by the rules of that class, even if it's an adjective used as a substantive ("The First").

Cheers, Jan Freeman
freeman@globe.com

I would have to vote JerryW, and in fact go one better and say that the plural isn't what Toyota says, it's whatever it is that people end up using. Toyota might own the brand, but they don't own the word. :-) As for "Priora" (whether correct or not in Latin), I say that speaking English should not require a working knowledge of Latin and Greek (or any other language). Once a word accepts an invitation into English, it pretty much has to play by English rules. Or as some might say, "When in English, do like the English [speakers]", haha.

So what's the collective noun for a fleet of Priora? Would that be a 'smug'?

...as opposed to a 'smog'?

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