Is the plural form of thematic "thematics"?

I did some researches and it is very rarely written with an s. Also, word considers it a mistake and underlines it. Yet, I found it in some online dictionaries (but they were not really reliable websites).

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    Yes, it is a plural noun. It's always used in the plural. – Michael Rybkin Jul 19 '18 at 8:50
  • Word processors underline the strangest things (yes, intended both ways). In a dispute between a word processor and a dictionary about the spelling of a word, the dictionary usually prevails. – Lawrence Jul 20 '18 at 8:55
  • see thematiques – Unrelated Jul 24 '19 at 21:38

I think the source of your confusion lies in the fact that the word "thematic" is listed as an adjective, that cannot have a plural form.

According to "my trusted source" LDOCE, the word thematics does not exist.


Ditto for Cambridge: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/thematic

While there are: semantic versus semantics. It seems there's just no such option for thematic.

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    Semantics is a plural noun. Thematic is not a noun, and thus does not have a plural. – Oliver Mason Jul 20 '18 at 8:32
  • Non-appearance in the OED even is stated by the editors not to be proof that a candidate is not in the lexis. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 24 '19 at 21:21
  • Thematic as a noun and thematics as "plural noun construed as singular" are in the OED and have been since 1912. – Andrew Leach Jul 24 '19 at 22:45

Don't put anything past literary criticism. It appears that "thematic" is now a noun, so I suppose there can be a plural "thematics." From a book description on the Oxford University Press website:

"The first book-length study of the incest thematic in eighteenth-century Gothic literature"

"by offering a complex and multifaceted account of this neglected yet pervasive thematic"

(I apologize for the unsavory subject matter.) I wonder what the exact distinction is between "theme" and "thematic."

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ODO/Lexico has now confirmed that the noun polyseme has achieved 'word' status:

thematic noun

1 thematics treated as singular or plural: A body of topics for study or discussion.

‘I soon gave up trying to prime him with the thematics of the piece’

2 thematic [British] [count usage; plural -s] A postage stamp forming part of a set with designs connected with the same subject.

‘You can discuss ideas of what to collect - thematics will probably be most suitable for beginners.’

Also called topical

[tidied and clarified slightly]

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