"What's the plural of hippopotamus?"

The plural of hippopotamus is hippopotamuses or hippopotami.

Definition of hippopotamus:

A large herbivorous, semi-aquatic African animal of the Hippopotamidae family.

Hippopotamuses or Hippopotami?

The word "hippopotamus" comes from the Greek word "hippopotamos," which means "river horse." It is a combination of the Greek words "hippos," meaning "horse," and "potamos," meaning "river."

The plural of "hippopotamus" is "hippopotamuses" or "hippopotami." The more common way to form the plural of "hippopotamus" is to add the ending "-es" to the word.

The word "hippopotami," on the other hand, is a less common plural form of "hippopotamus." By Latin rules, the correct plural form of "hippopotamus" is "hippopotami."

It is worth noting that "hippopotami" is a less common plural form of "hippopotamus" in English, and it is more likely to be used in formal or scientific contexts. "Hippopotamuses" is the more widely used plural form of the word, and it is the one that is more commonly found in general usage.

Both forms are considered acceptable, and you can use either one depending on your preference or the style guide you are following. Just be consistent with your usage within a single piece of writing.

As you can see from the graph below, hippopotami was more commonly used in written English until around the 1970s. These days appearances of the two words are roughly the same.

Used informally, the word hippo is much easier to remember and its plural is simply hippos.

Plural of Hippopotamus Example Sentences

Here are some examples of the words "hippopotamus," "hippopotamuses," and "hippopotami" being used in sentences to illustrate the differences:

  • "The hippopotamus is a large, semiaquatic mammal native to Africa."

(In this sentence, "hippopotamus" is a singular noun that refers to a single individual of the species.)

  • "Hippopotamuses are known for their large size and their ability to swim."

(In this sentence, "hippopotamuses" is a plural noun that refers to more than one individual of the species.)

  • "Recent studies have shown that hippopotami are vulnerable to habitat loss due to human activity, such as agriculture and development."

(In this sentence, "hippopotami" is used as a plural noun to refer to more than one individual of the species. The word is used in the context of an academic study, and it is written in a formal style.)

Hippopotamuses vs. hippopotami

The graph shows the occurances of the plural of hippopotamus in written English since 1800 using Google's Ngram Viewer.

Fun Fact:

Hippopotamuses can't actually swim. Instead they glide through the water, propelling themselves off of underwater objects.




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The plural of hippopotamus is hippopotamuses or hippopotami
The plural of hippopotamus is hippopotamuses or hippopotami