"What's the plural of lady-in-waiting?"

The plural of lady-in-waiting is ladies-in-waiting.

Definition of lady-in-waiting:

Lady-in-waiting is a term that has been used since medieval times to refer to women who serve as companions and assistants to royalty or nobility.

Lady-in-waiting is a compound noun made up of two separate words, lady and waiting, which are linked by a hyphen. As with many hyphenated compound nouns, there is often confusion about how to form the plural of lady-in-waiting.

Forming the Plural of Hyphenated Compound Words

The general rule to form the plural of hyphenated compound nouns is to change only the primary noun to its plural form.

This is because the primary noun is the most important part of the noun phrase, and changing it to its plural form creates the appropriate number agreement for the noun phrase as a whole.

For example, in the case of "daughter-in-law", the primary noun is "daughter", so we pluralize it to "daughters-in-law" to indicate that there are multiple daughters in law. 

Similarly, in the case of "editor-in-chief", the primary noun is "editor", so we pluralize it to "editors-in-chief" to indicate that there are multiple editors in chief.

In the case of "light-year" however, the primary noun is "year", so the plural form is "light-years" as the second word is pluralized.

This is why the plural of “lady-in-waiting” is “ladies-in-waiting” since the primary noun is “lady”.

Is Lady-in-Waiting a Countable or Uncountable Noun?

"Lady-in-waiting" is a countable noun, which means that it refers to a discrete entity that can be counted. Each "lady-in-waiting" is a separate individual, so it makes sense to talk about them in the plural form.

For example, you can say "The queen had several ladies-in-waiting," which implies that there were multiple individuals who held the position of lady-in-waiting.

On the other hand, an uncountable noun refers to something that cannot be counted, such as a substance or an abstract concept.

Examples of uncountable nouns include "water", "knowledge", and "love". You cannot count "water" in the same way that you can count "ladies-in-waiting". Instead, you would refer to a quantity of water, such as "a glass of water" or "a bottle of water".

It's worth noting that some nouns can be both countable and uncountable, depending on the context in which they are used.

For example, "chicken" can be a countable noun ("I ordered three chickens") or an uncountable noun ("I made a lot of chicken for dinner"). However, "lady-in-waiting" is generally considered to be a countable noun, since it refers to a specific role that is held by individual people.

Plural of Lady-in-waiting Example Sentences

Here are three example sentences each of the word lady-in-waiting in singular and plural forms:


  1. The queen's lady-in-waiting brought her a cup of tea.

  2. Mary was appointed lady-in-waiting to the Duchess of Cambridge.

  3. Anne Boleyn was a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon before she caught the eye of Henry VIII.


  1. The princess had several ladies-in-waiting attending to her needs.

  2. The ladies-in-waiting were all dressed in identical gowns for the coronation ceremony.

  3. Elizabeth I's ladies-in-waiting often played a crucial role in her political and diplomatic affairs.

Fun Fact:

In some cultures, being a lady-in-waiting was seen as a prestigious position that could lead to marriage and social advancement. However, the life of a lady-in-waiting was not always glamorous or enjoyable.

Lady-in-waiting often had to endure strict rules and protocols, and intense pressure to please their royal patrons. Some ladies-in-waiting even became pawns in political games, forced to spy on their employers or engage in other unsavory activities.



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The plural of lady-in-waiting is ladies-in-waiting
The plural of lady-in-waiting is ladies-in-waiting