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I've noticed that it is often "ostriches" or "ostrich" according to different sources. Does it vary by the dialect of English?

Normally I'd use Google to determine something like this, but unfortunately the search for "ostrich" plural is overcounted because of references to the singular "ostrich".

Dictionaries laying around were inconclusive. One listed plural as "ostrich" another listed "ostriches". In cases where the dictionaries disagree or where there are multiple possible solutions I tend to go with the more common answer. That is something that can be easily found by googling, but not in this case

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Just wondering.... Is there any reason why you prefer googling over referencing a dictionary? –  deutschZuid Apr 13 '12 at 2:15
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Dictionaries laying around were inconclusive. One listed plural as "ostrich" another listed "ostriches". In cases where the dictionaries disagree or where there are multiple possible solutions I tend to go with the more common answer. That is something that can be easily found by googling, but not in this case. –  Pridkett Apr 13 '12 at 3:01
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Google Ngrams shows that the number of hits is roughly balanced between "two ostrich" and "two ostriches", as well as "four ostrich" and "four ostriches". Three is an exception. –  Peter Shor Jun 24 '12 at 1:45
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Where the plural occurs in the citations in the OED, it is ostriches. However, those who make ostrich the plural can appeal to the precedent of the hunter’s plural in lion, tiger, elephant and so on.

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The plural of ostrich is ostriches. source

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But according this New York Times article, owners prefer the plural ostrich: "the plural of the bird can be either ostrich or ostriches but owners prefer ostrich for both singular and plural" [gourmetostrich.com/theneworktimes.html ] –  JLG Apr 13 '12 at 2:27
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Do you own an ostrich? –  user545424 Apr 13 '12 at 2:27
    
To which I reply that other dictionaries indicate that the plural is either "ostrich" or "ostriches". education.yahoo.com/reference/dictionary/entry/ostrich (from the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language) –  Pridkett Apr 13 '12 at 2:59
    
@user545424: No, but maybe I own ostrich. :) –  JLG Apr 13 '12 at 3:19
    
@Pridkett, then go with either one. What are you worried about? If it's the ostrich farmers, then I'd stick with ostrich. –  user545424 Apr 13 '12 at 3:22
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protected by RegDwigнt Jun 24 '12 at 10:38

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