All Geese and No Meese
Updated: Oct 5, 2021
English plurals can be confusing.
Have you ever noticed that the plural of goose is geese, but the plural of moose is moose and thought, “Why isn’t it meese”?”
Because goose and moose entered the English language at different times and were taken from different languages, they ended up with different plural forms – geese and moose.
Goose rhymes with moose but it came into the English language a lot earlier than moose did.
Goose has Germanic roots and comes from the Old English word gōs. That means goose had been around for a long, long time before moose came along. Old English was used from around 450 CE to 1150 CE.
It also means that goose was given its plural form based on the Old English rules for creating plurals. Back then, the plural of gōs would have been gósiz. Eventually, that rule changed and the new plural of gōs became gés, which later turned into geese.
Moose was taken from Algonquian, a Native American language family, and was not changed much when it was adopted in the 1600s. Compare moòs (Algonquian) to moose (English). Apparently, there was no plural form of the word moòs, and English did not give it one, not even mooses.
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