By on December 31, 2007

prius_3web.jpgI 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. 

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18 Comments on “What’s the plural of Prius?...”

  • avatar

    Latin: A written language, that when spoken, results in puffs of dust emitting from the speaker’s mouth.
    (I only enrolled in Latin in 9th grade becuase a girl that I had a crush on had enrolled also.)
    “Priora” it is, then.

  • avatar

    Why not ask Toyota, they named it.

  • avatar
    Justin Berkowitz

    And here I had been thinking Prius meant “Screw you, people who don’t drive a Prius.”

  • avatar

    Did they figure out the plural form for the people who buy Priora?

  • avatar


    Why not ask Toyota, they named it.

    Toyota PR is closed until the New Year.

  • avatar

    Gee…I would have guessed “Priae”

  • avatar

    “Did they figure out the plural form for the people who buy Priora?”

    The answer is CUSTOMERS.

  • avatar

    I was wondering just yesterday about the plural of Prius. Whereas a few months ago it was sometimes hard to find one on a dealer’s lot, yesterday I saw seven of ’em lined up right in front; several at $27,734. Too bad Toyota doesn’t publish inventory levels by model.

  • avatar
    Phil Roast Beef


  • avatar

    “Sales Top 1 Million but Some Owners Find Prius Doesn’t Age Well

    Electrical, Drivetrain Problems Plague Consumers as Cars Age”

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    Remember these discussions regarding the plural of a computer “Mouse”? It is not “Mice” or “Mouses,” but, rather, “Mouse Devices.”

    Same thing for “Prius.” The plural is, “Prius Vehicles.”

  • avatar

    But will it play in Prioria?


  • avatar

    BabyM: kudos for the Nixon reference.

  • avatar

    jthorner – Thanks for that link.

    I think the article is not entirely fair because many of the problems they discuss are not hybrid-powertrain specific.

    Any modern car can have problems with tires, steering columns, key-off battery discharging, etc.

    As discussed in a recent TTAC editorial,

    hybrid cars are far from unique is having electronic “issues”

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    Reminds me of the viruses, virii or viri debate.

    So, I’d say Priuses.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    For what it’s worth, there are people trying to teach the aftermarket how to work on hybrids.

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