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.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/bosom

I found recently that even an elderly educated woman was referring to her bosom in the plural, as her bosoms.

Please settle my discomfort finally, and clarify if this can be used as a plural word.

I thought it was just English deprived younger kids who used "Bosoms" in this manner. :-))

share|improve this question
    
Yay! Now we are bosom-buddies ! –  Adel Sep 21 '11 at 6:17

3 Answers 3

Under its entry for ‘bosom’, the OED has ‘pl. In recent use, a woman's breasts. colloq.’ with the earliest citation dated 1959. The OED would appear to have missed the references in Peter’s answer.

share|improve this answer

http://www.google.com/search?q=%22her+bosoms%22+site:gutenberg.org

In short, there are a few examples which are unambiguously referring to multiple bosoms of a single female and which are old enough to be out of copyright. They include poetry from 1888, pornography from 1898, and a novel from 1840 (albeit by someone whose poor prose led to the naming of a prize for bad opening lines).

share|improve this answer
1  
Bulwer-Lytton did not have poor prose, only what we (would now) consider very poor style. He was very popular in his day. Try this quiz: Bulwer-Lytton or Dickens? –  ShreevatsaR Sep 21 '11 at 7:03
    
Interesting. Thanks @peter! –  Sister Sep 22 '11 at 1:04
    
After amending to do that search in the English language, I found a total of 10 entries, most of which were in translation e.g. ancient Greek. –  Feral Oink Mar 18 '13 at 5:02

"Bosom" is generally used to refer to the chest area of a person, and therefore the singular is usually used. However, there has been uses of the word "bosoms" to refer to the "breasts" of a woman:

2003, Martin Kelner, The Guardian, 7 Apr 2003:
The prevailing look at Aintree was of a well-upholstered woman wearing an outfit about three sizes too small for her; trouser suits so tight you could not only tell if the lady had a coin in her pocket but see if it was heads or tails, and skimpy tops proclaiming proudly that bosoms are back - and this time it's personal.

This seems however, to be a relatively new usage. Wiktionary defines it as:

(in the plural) A woman's breasts. [from 20th c.]

Thus, it's been coined, yes, rather recently.

I suppose, with language changing, it is correct now to refer to "bosoms", although it isn't so, originally.

However, I must make the distinction in this case. "Bosoms" doesn't refer to one person's chest area, but rather the chest areas of several people in general, the way you would say, chins.

share|improve this answer
1  
Hmm, in this instance, "bosoms are back", one could replace this with any pair reference, as with, "arm/arms", and it would mean the same thing. As in, "Skimpy tops proclaim that arms are back." So I believe this example isn't accurate in this instance. –  Sister Sep 21 '11 at 1:56
    
There was no insult intended, @Carole-Lynn, just a sci-fi reference joke. I will remove my comment, though. –  JeffSahol Sep 21 '11 at 2:33
    
@JeffSahol, tell me what the sci-fi reference was, sounds interesting :-) –  Sister Sep 21 '11 at 2:50
1  
Total Recall (1990). 'nuff said –  JeffSahol Sep 21 '11 at 2:56
1  
@JeffSahol That was what I had in mind as soon as I read this question. The cited passage in this answer isn't quite correct. That is a fashion article, and refers to women, plural, not singular. "Bosoms are back" means that the trend of displaying them more prominently by women's clothing designers has returned. –  Feral Oink Mar 18 '13 at 4:55

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.