I read a paper today that kept using "multistrata" to describe an object with multiple layers. For example:

I love multistrata cakes.

This sounds wrong to my ear, I think "multistratum" sounds better, even though the plural of stratum is strata. Certainly "multilayer cakes" sounds better than "multilayers cakes", which is the analogue to "multistratum" and "multistrata".

Are there definitive rules for forming adjectives from Latin nouns?


Your suggestion using stratum is logically sound, but unfortunately the reality is that it isn't totally consistent. With words that have clearly marked plurals, we can see that we use singular, e.g. multicolor. However, we also have words like the well-established multimedia. The pattern seems to fall apart sometimes in places where the plural is irregular. Not always, but sometimes. (I am sure that is very unsatisfying!)


A search in Google suggests that "multi-stratal" is widely used. Another example: "fungal species".


Would it maybe not matter whether it is one cake or many? The cakes will always have multiple layers. Multistrata means "many layers;" a single, multistrata cake still has multiple layers.

Hope this helps; if this is completely off, feel free to put me in my place!

  • I know of cakes that don't have layers. – Helmar Sep 20 '16 at 21:43

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