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.

I am aware that the plural of metropolis is metropolises, but to me it sounds stilted and to be honest I cannot recall ever hearing it used.

Is there an irregular plural of metropolis that would be in a less formal register. Any common mistaken pluralizations?

share|improve this question
5  
If "metropolises" sounds stilted to you, use "cities". –  Ben Voigt May 29 '11 at 13:24
    
Actually, wouldn't it be: metropolese as a plural for metropolis? –  user44314 May 15 '13 at 19:44
add comment

3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

Metropolis is originally a Greek word, but comes to English through Latin. The Latin plural is metropoles (presumably pronounced with /iːz/ instead of /ɪs/). The Greek plural is metropoleis. If you look at a Google Ngram, metropolises is used most of the time, but metropoles is not uncommon. Metropoleis is used very rarely, and when used, it mainly refers to ancient Greek city-states.

Ngram: metropolis, metropoles, metropoleis

Wiktionary and some dictionaries suggest metropolises and metropoleis as the plural, but I would strongly advise against using metropoleis (unless you're talking about ancient Greek city-states); Greek plurals are rarely used in English (see octopodes). But if you want to use metropoles rather than metropolises, you won't be alone.

share|improve this answer
    
I still suggest Metropolitan areas... –  mplungjan May 29 '11 at 16:14
add comment

Metropolises is the plural of metropolis, and for what I know, there aren't other plurals for that word.

Looking for metropolises at the Corpus of Contemporary American English and the British National Corpus, I get the following data:

Chart

(Corpus of Contemporary American English doesn't report any data under "non-academic" or "miscellaneous"; the scale is logarithmic.)

The higher number of times the word is found in the CoCA corpus is 31, which means a ratio of 0.38 per million.

Metropolises is used in sentences like the following:

I would refine this further to suggest that when experiences in small towns, ports, commercial cities, and industrial metropolises are compared, similarities far outweigh divergences across the country and that a broadly defined "Jewishkeit," or mixture of Jewish tradition, custom, values, and historical experience, exerted substantial influence over behavior.

share|improve this answer
add comment

According to dictionary.reference.com the plural for metropolis is "metropolises".

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/metropolis

share|improve this answer
    
That’s not really a citable source. –  tchrist May 4 at 1:42
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.