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According to Microsoft® Encarta® 2009, the word elision has an unmarked plural elision (no -s suffix) as an alternative to elisions.

Can "elision" be used as a plural form? If so, is it due to its Latin origin?

A similar example I've found is ratatouille, but I am ignorant of the pronunciation of its plural in French.

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  • 2
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    Aug 19, 2021 at 6:24
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    – tchrist
    Sep 12, 2021 at 19:01

3 Answers 3


I can't imagine why Encarta would say that. Merriam-Webster, American Heritage, and the OED fail to mention an alternative plural without the -s. (The same is true for ratatouille. If you want to see for yourself what unusual plurals are indicated, search any of those dictionaries for "octopus" or "deer".)

There is nothing of the Latin that would indicate "elision" can be plural. The Latin word elisio is your run-of-the-mill third declension noun. The plural (nominative and accusative) in Latin is elisiones, which in English is virtually always a simple -s. Cf. L. machinationes with E. "machinations."

My guess is that Encarta is simply wrong or that there might be some specialized, non-standard usage that somehow adopted a singular word for its plural, but I wouldn't trust Encarta to relay that without attestation. You're safer going with the three other dictionaries instead.

  • 8
    That's right. Microsoft is again spouting arrant nonsense. Both these ❌elision are and these ❌ratatouille are are thoroughly ungrammatical.
    – tchrist
    Aug 17, 2021 at 21:41

Ratatouille, at least in French, has both a singular form (ratatouille) and a plural one (ratatouilles, and only this one).

The plural form is not used much, but makes sense in some context (e.g. toutes les ratatouilles ne se ressemblent pas - ratatouilles are not made equal)

  • Then again, "the _ contest" will appear unmarked for any English noun (the apple contest, the pie contest, etc.) even though those words have only marked plurals. Something to do with forming the compound noun "_ contest" using the singular form every time, I would imagine.
    – user45266
    Aug 18, 2021 at 21:55
  • @user45266 They're not syntactically plural when they're in that position, though.
    – user430882
    Aug 18, 2021 at 22:14
  • @user45266: you are right, I chose a bad example. I will update the answer
    – WoJ
    Aug 19, 2021 at 6:19

I googled (in quotes)

"many elision"

and found nothing other than a typo:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjzo4nWhLvyAhVCK80KHb9IA5AQFnoECAcQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fartistryalliance.net%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2019%2F05%2Fconfigurations2.pdf&usg=AOvVaw2xICOW1DOYVnrjBIdWJBQD "How many elision can you find in The Orill Wheel"

Right on p. 1 the document mentions "elisions" in all caps and in bold. At the bottom, you see "Now find elisions in..." and "How many other elisions..." It's a typo.

  • 2
    Right on p. 1 the document mentions "elisions" in all caps and in bold. At the bottom, you see "Now find elisions in..." and "How many other elisions..." It's just a typo.
    – user430882
    Aug 18, 2021 at 22:18
  • great work @cmw !
    – Fattie
    Aug 18, 2021 at 22:59

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