I've seen many people make reference to LEGO as Legos. E.g. "I enjoy playing with my Legos".

But from my understanding, this is incorrect and they should be referred to simply as LEGO (in capitals as per company standards). E.g. "I enjoy playing with LEGO".

There is no reference to the term Legos in any official material on LEGO's site at http://www.lego.com, although there are hundreds of mentions in LEGO's official message board (search site:lego.com +legos).

I also don't want to accept that individual pieces of a LEGO set can be referred to as Legos, as the official site refers to these as "parts". (See here.)

Also, a collection of LEGO sets can't be referred to as Legos as these are also referred to as "sets" by the LEGO company.

Is it correct to refer to LEGO in any denomination as Legos?

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    I can't help but snicker whenever I hear someone say "LEGOs". I don't know why, but I just find it funny. Maybe it's because it's how old people say it and has thus become a stereotype. I simply say "my LEGO".
    – Dog Lover
    Commented Jul 12, 2016 at 23:10
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    BTW: Does Americans also pluralise similar toys like "Meccano", "Duplo", "Playmobile" as well? Do they really say play with "Meccanos", "Duplos", "Playmobiles" (or shortened as "Playmos")? Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 9:46
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    Yes, as a kid I played with Legos, Mechanos, Lincoln logs, HOs, Tonkas, Hot Wheels, Matchboxes, Frisbees, Jarts, Big Wheels, etc.
    – Phil Sweet
    Commented Jul 26, 2019 at 21:19
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    The example you've given is indeed incorrect - it should be "I enjoy playing with my Legos".
    – Vikki
    Commented Jul 27, 2019 at 23:10

7 Answers 7


Owners of trademarks are free to make whatever pronouncements they like regarding how people should use their trademarks. Users of the English language, however, have the final say of how the English language works.

Just as watches made by Rolex are “Rolexes”, Apple computers are “Macs”, shoes made by Puma are “Pumas”, cars made by Audi are “Audis”, portable video games made by Nintendo are “Game Boys”, by the same process toys made by Lego are “Legos”.

“Legos” is a common usage, though not universal, and many people don’t use it especially outside North America. However, the Lego Group, paranoid (completely unreasonably) about maintaining its trademark rights, has taken a strikingly strident tone in trying to force many people to use the English language in a way that is not natural for them. At one time, the web site at legos.com had a message saying this:

Please always refer to our products as “LEGO bricks or toys” and not “LEGOS.” By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand of which we are very proud, and that stands for quality the world over.

Of course everyone is free to comply with these corporate demands, but the Lego Group has no authority over the English language to regulate it in this way. So if you want to feel guilty about using “Legos”, understand that the only thing you are guilty of is not obeying the demands of a Danish corporation, not for violating the rules of English grammar.

Here is someone’s thesis addressing some grammatical issues with trademarks, which addresses this very issue:

The LEGO Group is another example of a company which tries to strictly adhere to INTA's specifications, and aggressively protect its own trademarks. Its last standing LEGO patent expired in 1988 (CBC News), but despite other competitors moving in on its interlocking brick technology, trademarks can be kept forever, as long as LEGO makes sure to protect them. One almost embarrassing display of trademark anxiety is the domain http://www.legos.com. Upon visiting the domain, the visitor would receive this notice:

“The word LEGO is a brand name, and is very special to all of us in the LEGO Group Companies. We would sincerely like your help in keeping it special. Please always refer to our products as “LEGO bricks or toys” and not “LEGOS.” By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand of which we are very proud, and that stands for quality the world over. Thank you!”

The visitor would then be redirected to http://www.lego.com. While it is true that “LEGOS” is not a registered trademark (USPTO), it is ridiculous for the LEGO Group to assume that a consumer's mention of “Legos” instead of “LEGO bricks and toys” is detrimental to the brand, and even more ridiculous to impose rules like this on consumers. What might be most ridiculous of all, though, is the purchase of the domain name, if the LEGO Group is so bent on distancing itself from pluralization of its trademark.

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    One Lego would be what in the official terminology is a single “Lego brick”.
    – nohat
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 2:47
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    @nohat: Thankyou! …also — I would give this +1 for the important main point that whatever manufacturers may say, people will use language however it comes most naturally. But I’m reluctant, since parts currently read almost like a prescriptive argument for the American usage… If you could acknowledge how the rest of us use it too, then I’d happily endorse an excellent answer :-)
    – PLL
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 4:38
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    @Bruno: the usual reasoning, from all I can tell, is "oh noes, our Precious® Brand™ is being watered down!" They don't want people to be hoovering with a Bosch, googling with Yahoo, or asking for a kleenex and getting a Tempo.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 11:08
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    Once your brand name becomes common usage for a type of thing (e.g. Lego for building blocks that look like Lego, or Hoover for vacuum cleaners) then your right to trademark that name can be lost, legally. Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 16:37
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    I agree that language users, not companies, have the final say, but none of the examples you gave (Rolex, Mac, Puma, Audi and GameBoy) are applicable because they are single items. Lego refers to a group of items (see, it's already plural) which are used together. Saying 'Legos' is pluralising a word that is already plural. You don't say 'How much woods do we need to build the shed?' or 'Do we have enough paints to cover the wall?' or 'How much sands will fit in the bucket'. Regarding one Lego, for me a single unit of Lego is a brick or piece.
    – Dhaust
    Commented Feb 18, 2014 at 23:10

In Danish (where the name comes from; derived from "leg godt" meaning "play good"), Norwegian, and Swedish, the name is an uncountable noun. I think it's both because it refers more to a concept than any actual piece. And also many of the pieces are small enough to be effectively "uncountable" like "grain", "sand", etc. I would personally use the word as an uncountable noun in English too. Calling it "Legos" sounds a bit odd (like saying "the Internets" etc.).

But unless you're writing advertising material and have to bother with trademarks etc., I would only capitalize the first letter, e.g.: "I enjoy playing with Lego with my nephew."

I just found a page arguing that LEGO is not really a noun at all; it's an adjective. To me, this sounds right; it explains why "legos" sounds so wrong. It's comparable to referring to some purple bricks as "purples".

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    "Legos" is decidedly American, I don't think you'll ever hear a Brit saying that they played with "Legos" as a kid. At first I thought Americans were just trying to get the British back for calling maths "math". It is great to know that Lego is so obviously the right pronunciation when given the derivation.
    – ukayer
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 4:26
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    Yes. Some in the UK might go to the trouble of saying "Lego bricks", but most would treat it as an uncountable noun and call it "Lego"; never "Legos".
    – njd
    Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 12:21
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    Note that in French (yes, this is OT), Lego is used as a de facto common name and we say casually "she plays with Legos" (elle joue aux Legos). Also note that there should be an accent at Légo to provide the correct intonation in french.
    – Oct
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 13:44
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    That page you link to is wrong: syntactically, LEGO is not an adjective, but a noun. Similarly, in Danish (and Swedish and Norwegian) is quite definitively not an adjective, ever. It is a noun and a noun alone. It just happens to be a noun that is commonly (according to the LEGO Group, exclusively) used attributively, as a noun adjunct. Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 7:27
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    @sumelic In French, the word can occur in three kind of constructions. One with the numeral cardinal adjective "un", which is always singular, and will mean either a single piece of lego, or a whole model. One with the plural adjective, whether "des" or "les", which is always plural and the third one is "au", but the only usage I can think for of this is when referencing the game as the assembling game with a lot of pieces: "elle joue aux légos", hence the plural. So for me, there is no ambiguity in the usage.
    – Oct
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 9:24

The natural English language inclination would be to call the bricks (and other pieces) "Legos", but to trademark lawyers, trademarks are always to be used as attributive modifiers, not nouns. For this reason, the Lego company produced a famous warning not just on their web site, but long before the web existed. It was printed on the little catalogs that came in our sets:

Susan Williams note from 1985 catalog

The note said:

Dear Parents and Children

LEGO® is a brand name that is very special to all of us in the LEGO Group Companies. We would sincerely appreciate your help in keeping it special by referring to our bricks as "LEGO Bricks or Toys" and not just "LEGOS". By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand name that stands for quality the world over.

If at any time we can be of service to you regarding our products, please feel free to write to us.

Susan Williams

Similar messages appeared in catalogs from 1979 to 1986.

"Susan Williams" was a fiction, the personification of the Customer Affairs department — but, as if she were Santa Claus, in those days the Lego company always acted if she were very much real. If you wrote a letter to Lego and got a response, "she" signed it (see this example of a Susan Williams letter). So, it was a personal request. And it was a request from a person representing a company we all loved, because we loved their product.

So, when the sort of enthusiastic children who loved Lego so much that they read the fine print of the catalog and wrote letters to the company, we took the admonishment very seriously — but, I think, generally missed the point. Not being trademark lawyers, the message didn't read as "call them bricks or toys, not lego" — it was "don't call them legos!" So, we grew up with that warning in our minds, carefully playing with lego even as we casually blew our noses on kleenexes and tossed our unwanted xeroxes in dumpsters.

For this reason, the Lego vs. Legos debate has become a sort of shibboleth for the fan community. It's a signifier that the person you're talking to either grew up as one of those geeky fans, or is tied into the loose network of builders, makers, and artists for whom Lego is a passion. In many ways the technical correctness (or hyper-correctness) isn't as important as this cultural implication.

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    The post by Geoff Pullum that is linked to on the article linked to in your answer is a great read that very succinctly debunks this whole ‘trademarks are adjectives’ madness. (Hint: trademarks are not adjectives. Ever. In any way. Under any circumstances.) Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 7:39
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    @Janus Since this is by definition an English-language nitpicking site, I will concede that point. :)
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 17:33

Since the owner of the name chooses always to use “LEGO”, then it is not strictly correct to call the toy anything else. But I doubt the company’s brand protection lawyers are going to start serving cease-and-desist orders on children calling the building blocks “Legos”.

I think “Legos” is predominantly an American English thing. As youngsters in the UK my friends and I always referred to it as “Lego”.

As for writing the name in all-caps: while that is clearly the manufacturer’s preference, it could appear to stand out as unusual emphasis in casual writing.

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    Interesting for you to mention US English as I am in Australia and from memory my friends always referred to it as just Lego. So maybe it is a US thing.
    – going
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 2:03
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    This is definitely an American English thing. In my experience - I've discussed this with quite a few friends on both sides of the pond - it's pretty consistently called Lego in the UK and Australia, and Legos in the US. Not sure about Canada.
    – PLL
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 2:40
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    @PLL: In the US, Legos is a noun and Lego is an adjective.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 4:22
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    @PLL: On second thought, "a Lego" is a single Lego brick. Argh.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 4:30
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    Just checked with my nearest native Canadian (my own usage might be affected by my UK childhood) and he thinks Legos sounds silly. He would say "a lot of Lego" or "playing with Lego" and if forced into pluralization would rather say "100 Lego bricks" than "100 Legos". I didn't offer a choice, he volunteered the brick usage. He feels his cohort all use the word like that, though they have heard Legos. Apparently there's a video mocking George Bush that refers to him playing with Legos. Commented Nov 4, 2011 at 13:46

its the same as 'wood'. plural form is not 'woods'. You do not have planks of woods, you have planks of wood. I have a piece of wood, not i have woods. I have a piece of LEGO, not I have legos

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    And your reference for your assertion that it is the same as "wood"? (From the other answers, it would appear that non-US speakers generally agree with you and US speakers generally don't, so I am asking what is your authority for making such a bold assertion).
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 14:55
  • So you think of "lego" as an uncountable substance of which all legos are merely representatives? That can't be right: the substance legos are made out of is plastic, not lego. You're surely really trying to say something closer to "fish" or "sand".
    – lly
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 20:18

I think the issue here is the issue of plurality. Lego is the same in plural form as it is in singular.

"a piece of lego"

"pieces of lego"

I would argue the word has moved from a proper noun to a general noun, so long has it been in the language; hence my use of it in lowercase. The representation of it in allcaps, is a marketing device of the company, for trademark usage, they do not use it themselves within most text, so I do not believe it to be necessary (particularly as that usually indicates an acronym, which it is not). If keeping it as a proper noun, then it should be initial caps.

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    Where are you familiar with this usage from? In the US, it’s definitely typically inflected in the plural, as legos; in the UK, at least for me and my friends, lego definitely functioned as a mass noun, not as an uninflected plural: “Have you still got your lego?” “No, my parents gave it away when I went to uni.” rather than “*No, my parents gave them away…”
    – PLL
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 4:29
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    @PLL: Well I typically only ever speak for British English, and will explicitly state if straying in to American. In the UK, legos would definitely be viewed as wrong. You are right on the mass noun part.
    – Orbling
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 12:24
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    Agreed that legos is definitely wrong in the UK; what I meant was that in my experience, so is treating lego as plural. I would never say/expect “?Your lego are all over the floor,” only “Your lego is all over the floor.” But you would use the former of those, or at least find it acceptable? (FWIW, I was brought up — at least at peak lego-playing ages — mostly in London [reading your comment here, I’ll clarify: Queens Park]; perhaps this is regional difference?)
    – PLL
    Commented Feb 1, 2011 at 17:23
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    The company insists that LEGO is not a noun at all. In their company profile the go so far as to say "It should always be accompanied by a noun. For example, LEGO set, LEGO products, LEGO Group".
    – djd
    Commented Jul 31, 2013 at 20:43
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    I say Lego's and write Lego's. The apostrophe is standing in for "brand brick" and it's never failed me. Commented May 25, 2017 at 20:21

Is it correct to refer to LEGO in any denomination as Legos?

Technically, no. However, this didn't stop people from referring to Band-Aid bandages as bandaids. The brand name LEGO could be in the process of being genericized.

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    I think the conversion of brand names into nouns is very much an American thing. You dont buy a box of tissues, you guys buy Kleenex :-) This has not happened much in other English-speaking countries.
    – Eno
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 23:37
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    @Eno Bullocks. ;) I find that hard to believe. Probably the very first trademarked words to become generic, linoleum, was invented by an Englishman. The word sellotape is used instead of Scotch Tape (adhesive tape) in England, Ireland, Australia and many other countries. Hoover is still a trademark in the US, but is now generic in the UK…
    – ghoppe
    Commented Jul 9, 2014 at 23:56
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    But those are exceptions rather than the rule in the UK. Its more commonly the other way around in the US (I am an Englishman but I have lived in the US for 20 years now).
    – Eno
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 16:48
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    BTW, an Englishman would say "Bollocks" rather than "Bullocks" :-)
    – Eno
    Commented Jul 10, 2014 at 17:08
  • They were being polite. ; )
    – lly
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 20:23

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