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Why is it that the plural of 'blood' is 'blood' in normal usage but 'bloods' (e.g. 'I'll be taking some bloods') is acceptable in a medical context? Are there any words with similar pluralisation anomalies?

This odd pluralisation may be confined to British English, here are some examples






UPDATE: I'm struggling to find online examples of this usage outside of midwifery as per the links above. Now I'm wondering if 'bloods' is actually a pluralisation that refers to both the mother and baby's blood. Has anyone an example of a medical usage outside of pregnancy?

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I have never heard "I'll be taking some bloods," and it sounds very strange to me. What is the context? Are they talking about taking blood from more than one person? If that's the context, it makes sense to me. Otherwise, I'd say no, it's not acceptable. –  Peter Shor Aug 25 '11 at 14:30
The Bloods — isn't that a street gang in LA or something? –  GEdgar Aug 25 '11 at 14:39
@GEdgar: Yes, and members of their rival gang, The Crips, might be very likely to say "I'll be taking some Bloods." –  oosterwal Aug 25 '11 at 22:41

4 Answers 4

"Bloods" is not a plural of "blood", but rather, the shortening of "blood test", often among medical professionals. Thus, that explains why "bloods" is acceptable in a medical context.

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There is no plural blood - it is uncountable noun.

Blood in medical context probably is slang term for blood sample or blood test, as @Thursagen points, which makes it countable and subject to normal pluralization rules.

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The word "blood" is inherently plural.

The only time I'm aware of the word "bloods" being usable is in reference to the LA street gang. In that case it makes sense because a "Blood" is a member of the gang, and people are countable.

So if someone says, "I'll be taking some bloods", the only way I know to interpret that is that they are bringing along some gang members with them.

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+1 - You beat me to it. –  oosterwal Aug 25 '11 at 22:42

They might be using bloods in the meaning of blood containers. I am not sure but since you heard it in medical context then that could be.

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please refer to my updated question. it may be confined to brit-english and obstetrics. –  5arx Sep 2 '11 at 21:28

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