Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

We regularly use these "hi visibility jackets/vests":

picture of the item in question

We use them often enough to informally abbreviate it to simply "hi vis".

I am struggling as to how to pluralise such a term. In speech it sounds moderately okay to say "hi vises" but as you can see it looks terrible in writing. Any better suggestions?

Also would such a term be hyphenated?

share|improve this question
1  
even if it looks terrible, shouldn't it be "hi vises"? But as you say it's informally called "hi vis" within your professional community (I assume), in written form, I feel it should be the whole term. just my opinion. –  JoseK Feb 24 '11 at 12:15
add comment

5 Answers

A few suggestions:

  1. "Hi-vis jackets" / "Hi-vis vests". These have the most naturalness, at the cost of an extra word.

  2. "Hi-vis". In a sentence you'd write, for instance, "we got a new batch of a dozen hi-vis today". Could be somewhat awkward.

  3. Define a new abbreviation in whatever you're writing, like "HVJ" or "HVV", and write "HVJs" or "HVVs". Or even "HVs". All it takes is putting a "(HV)" after the first mention: "A hi-vis (HV) is indispensable. How many HVs does it take…" etc.

My own preference is for 1 over 3 over 2. In any case, whatever you choose, do include a hyphen: it comes from "high-visibility jacket" where "high-visibility" is a multiple-word adjective that needs a hyphen.

share|improve this answer
add comment

It's extremely uncommon for new singular words ending in "s" to be pronounced with a "z" sound; a "proper" spelling (even though one can never say that the spelling of a new word that isn't a brand name or technical coinage is proper until it has achieved a certain critical mass of usage) would probably be the hyphenated hi-viz.

I would have pronounced "hi vis" as if it were the plural of "hi vi" if the term hadn't been explained, and I think that would be the first inclination of most readers.

The plural, if there is one, would probably be best spelled as hi-vizzes, but there's probably a better way around it -- like instructing people to wear their hi-viz gear rather than their hi-vizzes.

share|improve this answer
add comment

I believe it should be hyphenated, hi-vis, making the plural hi-vises. I think from context it's clear that you don't mean a vise.

share|improve this answer
add comment

As vises is an American English word (the plural of vise, which the equivalent of the British vice), I would use hi vis's.
If the word is preceded from an adjective, then I would write hi-vis for the singular and hi-vis's for the plural. Hi vis seems a greeting; that is the reason I would write hi-vis and hi-vis's, if I would really need to.

share|improve this answer
    
@Rhodri: I am not encouraging anything. Considering the context, I am suggesting what I think it is better. For sure I would not suggest hi vises for the reason I reported. –  kiamlaluno Feb 24 '11 at 13:47
add comment

Wouldn't it be more in keeping with usual English spelling to double the final 's' and get hi visses / hi-visses?

share|improve this answer
    
Hadn't thought of that. It does indeed look less awful that way. –  Chris Burt-Brown Feb 24 '11 at 15:45
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.