4

In Oxford Learner's Dictionary, under Achilles tendon, it says that

  • Achilles tendon = Achilles

Then the plural of 'Achilles tendon' is 'Achilles tendons'.

But, what is the plural form of "Achilles"?

5

Why should you want "the plural of Achilles"? Nouns (common or proper) used as the non-final element of compounds don't usually take a plural ending; and if they do, they always take it. They don't change when the whole phrase is plural:

kitchen unit -> kitchen units.

cable provider -> cable providers.

and

glasses case -> glasses cases.

If you really want to talk about more than one Achilles, then most people would say "Achilleses", but people often aren't sure how to write it. I suspect some people would say "two Achilles" (like "two series").

2

Google finds around a dozen hits for "two achilles are", and only one for "two achilleses are". So I would say the consensus is that the plural of Achilles is Achilles.

However pluralizing achilles is so rare that I assume most people who do it aren't copying the plural form from things they've heard, but coming up with it de novo. So I would be very heistant to call achilleses wrong.

  • 2
    Perhaps it's because words ending in unstressed /iz/ already "sound" plural: fillies, axis>axes, basis>bases, crisis>crises, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, gives me the willies. – tchrist Dec 15 '18 at 19:03
  • @tchrist: that's probably why. And two additional words: species>species and series>series. – Peter Shor Dec 16 '18 at 16:21
  • Be­sides those two you note from Latin’s 5ᵗʰ-de­clen­sion, other ex­am­ples in­vari­ant in the plu­ral be­cause of al­ready end­ing in un­stressed /iːz/ (UK) or /iz/ (US) are Pekinese for the dog and Si­amese for the cat. As far as I can dis­cern, ᴀʟʟ -ese de­monyms and lo­gonyms end­ing in un­stressed /iz/ strongly re­sist (block?) fur­ther /ǝz/ in­flec­tions, whether to make them plu­ral or to make them pos­ses­sive. Same with Mercedes be­ing in­vari­ant, be it car make or wom­an’s name. That’s why I be­lieve these all op­er­ate un­der some kind of un­taught sound law. – tchrist Dec 16 '18 at 17:34

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