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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?

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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

3 Answers 3

up vote 12 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.

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I still suggest Metropolitan areas... – mplungjan May 29 '11 at 16:14

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:


(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.

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According to the plural for metropolis is "metropolises".

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That’s not really a citable source. – tchrist May 4 '14 at 1:42

protected by tchrist Mar 1 at 19:05

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