I'm not that old, but when I was a child/teen, stadia was the common term. As in:

  • Wembley, the Nou Camp, and the Santiago Bernabeu are football stadia.
  • The MCG and Lord's are cricket stadia.

But now stadiums is the more common term. Is this shift essentially redundant? I've read some sources say that it better reflects English language pluralisation, but then I think "so what?" Stadia better reflects the Latin root, and English isn't a wholly logical/systematic language (very few languages are). If we call more than one dog dogs, more than one ox oxen, and use cattle both as singular and plural, then why does it matter?

  • <snark>Stadia sounds like a cross between an STD and a parasite</snark>. Sorry :/ – seismatica Jul 16 '14 at 7:48
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    How can a shift in usage be redundant? That doesn't make any sense to me… do you just mean that it's unnecessary? If so, then yes, obviously. Any shift in usage is ultimately unnecessary, though it may help to regularise the language, as we are all constantly attempting to do when we use it. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 16 '14 at 7:57
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    As an American, stadiums is greatly preferred. – pazzo Jul 16 '14 at 9:51
  • The stadion (plural stadia) is also a Greek unit of length (from 150-200 meters). – Oldcat Jul 16 '14 at 18:23

The increase in use of stadiums as plural instead of stadia is probably also due to the fact that stadia has also other meanings unrelated to stadium:

Stadia, Stadium: Ngram:

  • Both stadia and stadiums are accepted plurals of stadium. Neither is right or wrong, but stadiums is far more common. This is the case throughout the English-speaking world, and it has been for several decades.

  • English-speakers are not required to know the rules of Latin grammar, and most Latin-derived words with long histories in English are now pluralized in the English manner. We do still prefer some Latin plurals by convention, however, but stadia is not one of them. Besides, stadia has its own meanings unrelated to stadium (i.e., a telescopic instrument used to measure distances, plus several related definitions), so keeping it separate might be useful.


  • Besides, stadia has its own meanings unrelated to stadium (i.e., a telescopic instrument used to measure distances Hmmm, but the use of stadium (or rather its Greek/Latin forebears) to mean an arena for sporting contests derives from its meaning as a standard unit of distance. I suppose today we might coin the word "fourhectometrium" to denote an arena with a standard-length running track. – High Performance Mark Jul 16 '14 at 6:51
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    The general public has no clue that a stadia is a telescopic instrument, so I doubt that this has anything to do with the shift in the plural. The same shift is happening in fulcra/fulcrums, and fulcra doesn't mean anything besides the plural of fulcrum. – Peter Shor Jul 16 '14 at 11:47
  • i just think stadia better reflects the Latin origin of the word. And unless most persons are geographers or construction workers, I doubt they would confuse the Maracana, Dodgers' stadium, or the SCG with a measuring instrument.. – DES-COA Jul 26 '14 at 2:30

Stadia is a more general, abstract pluralisation. "How are stadia constructed?".

Stadiums is more literal and specific - "How many stadiums were used in the World Cup in Brazil in 2014?"

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    Can you justify, or support by evidence, the differences you see between the words ? – High Performance Mark Jul 16 '14 at 6:52
  • I still disagree. – DES-COA Jul 26 '14 at 2:28

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