5

In the context of a table leaf, what is the correct plural term, "table leafs" or "table leaves"?

  • 1
    @David M: I've seen 'Gerroff!", but I wouldn't advise using it very often. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 25 '14 at 20:08
  • 1
    A pair of Google Ngrams seems to indicate that only one of the variants David has seen would not be considered non-standard. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 25 '14 at 20:22
  • 2
    I have never called them, nor would ever dream of calling them, anything other than 'table leaves'. – WS2 Feb 26 '14 at 0:03
  • 1
    Yes, I've been told to "put the leaves in the table" or some such on several occasions. Never has it been "leafs". – Hot Licks Apr 30 '15 at 12:18
  • 1
    As anyone who has spent time in Canada can tell you, the primary circumstance in which a North American might use "leafs" is in connection with the professional hockey team that represents Toronto in the NHL: the Maple Leafs. Or perhaps when referring to an urbane panda presented with an overrated book on punctuation usage: It eats shoots and leafs through the text. – Sven Yargs May 23 '15 at 5:52
5

Per Merriam-Webster's online dictionary either is a correct plural for the word leaf. There is no differentiation between the usages.

The usage of the word for part of a table is that it is suggestive of a leaf. Hence, it follows the same usage.

Though, I must say that more and more sources I've looked at prefer leaves as the plural of leaf (in any usage). Example

  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth I've always taken exception to the usage of mouses as being a bit . . . contrived? I'm using the test case of the leaves of a book as an example. – David M Feb 25 '14 at 20:21
  • 1
    We've covered this before. Here is an article on ' "Systematic regularization" [which] is one of several different terms used to name a familiar phenomenon, long noted in English and some other languages as well. Sometimes, a morphologically-irregular word form becomes regularized when the word is used in a new way ...' Table leaves were given the name before this practice really began to gain momentum. – Edwin Ashworth Feb 25 '14 at 20:26
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth I don't dispute that it is true. I've just always hated it for computer mice. It's a peeve, not a fact. – David M Feb 25 '14 at 20:27
  • 2
    @EdwinAshworth I don't believe I'm ranting. It's not that heated of a subject for me. For example, I've never slapped anyone over the usage. – David M Feb 25 '14 at 20:29
  • 2
    @EdwinAshworth Rant implies a tirade that goes on at length. I was just stating my personal distaste for the one usage. – David M Feb 25 '14 at 20:38

protected by Community Sep 3 '15 at 8:00

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.