What's the Plural of Prius?

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

I know TTAC is the hard man of the autoblogosphere, but sometimes I can't resist taking a walk on nerdy side (and the pistonhead girls go do do do do…). The International Herald Tribune addresses one of rivet counters' most vexing questions, as above. Previously, on "You Need To Get A Life," Trib author Jan Freeman declared that the appropriate term for more than one Toyota Prius was "Prioria." Reader Christopher Casey took exception, kinda. "You were right that Prius is the neuter nominative/accusative singular of the adjective prior, but the plural forms of the word – which means 'earlier, better, more important'- would be Priora, not Prioria." Freeman rang-up Harry Mount, author of "Carpe Diem" (a.k.a. "Latin isn't half as dull as you think it is. More like a quarter"). "Yes, it's Priora," he told Freeman, "because it's neuter plural. But if you cheated a bit and made the car masculine or feminine – and I do think of cars as female – then it would be Priores. And Priores has nice undertones of grandness – Virgil used it to mean 'forefathers' or 'ancestors.' So if your hybrids are named for the dames of ancient Rome – Drusilla, Octavia, Agrippina – you're granted poetic license. Otherwise, Priora is the Latin plural you're looking for." Mea culpa! TTAC's been using Prii. We sit corrected.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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4 of 18 comments
  • GS650G GS650G on Dec 31, 2007

    A common theme of the complaints (in the article at least) seems to be that the cars are ending up at the dealer. My guess is local mechanics see hybrid syndergy drive labels and shake their heads no. If I took my car to a dealer for parts or service because no one else had parts or service I would be screwed as well. I think once the aftermarket or salvage yards start to get more Priora on hand we might see this situation change, provided a common failure does not crop up. If an expensive, dealer only, critical part goes bad often enough your going to see these babies lined up in junkyards. I wish the owners and their cars well, for every one I see on the road means a little more juice for my F-150 to burn. Thanks for saving oil for me guys, I appreciate it.

  • Donal Donal on Dec 31, 2007

    Reminds me of the viruses, virii or viri debate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plural_of_virus So, I'd say Priuses.

  • TexasAg03 TexasAg03 on Dec 31, 2007

    I looked this up before and found something from Toyota. Ed Larocque had this to say: The correct form is whatever our customers want it to be. You can say “Prius.” You can say “Priuses.” You can say “Priis.” We love watching the chatter and the comments that we’re seeing on the websites. From Toyota’s standpoint, there really is no right way for the Prius to be announced.

  • Eric_Stepans Eric_Stepans on Dec 31, 2007

    For what it's worth, there are people trying to teach the aftermarket how to work on hybrids. http://www.auto-careers.org/allthingshybrid.html