View Full Version : The plural of virus is viruses. Per Google search.

02-06-2003, 07:58 PM
In the last week or so there was a discussion about the plural of the word virus and the general feeling was that it is virii.

I checked this out on Google and every listing that I saw, almost without exception, said that the plural is definitely viruses.

If you want to check it out, just type, virus plural, into Google and you will find a large number of sites with many pages of information about it, some analysing in great depth.

From what I gathered, the word virus in Latin has no plural (almost), so when used in English, one should use the English plural, which is-es for words ending in-us, thus virus becomes viruses. Some sites made scathing remarks about 'making up' a Latin plural to fit the situation.

Where I said (almost) above, there is a plural, viri, but that is to do with the word men. Here is one reference to that; I quite enjoyed the comment so will paste it here:

[By the way, the word viri is a Latin word. But it is a completely different and unrelated one. It is the plural of vir. It means "men". Unless, when you talk of being infected by viri you really are talking about being infected by men (and not by viruses), viri is not the correct word to use.]

I had wondered if virii was used by the medical profession, but one of the sites mentioned that they had searched the British Medical Journal and Lancet and found no references to virii, only to viruses.

Perhaps virii is a special word adopted by the IT industry especially for geeks. ;\

Billy T
02-06-2003, 08:26 PM
*Gulp* :8}

"Guilty as charged"

I missed that thread exLL, but I have been guilty of writing virii from time to time, it is faster to type than viruses for a two finger expert.

I guess there are probably a few other faux-latin words that have drifted into usage by default or ignorance.

I will convert to viruses forthwith.:)


Billy 8-{) :D

02-06-2003, 08:33 PM
>Perhaps virii is a special word adopted by the
>IT industry especially for geeks.

Well that makes it a REAL word then, that is if we except that language IS an evolving force.


Susan B
03-06-2003, 06:08 PM
Thanks for that exLL. It is good to know that I have been "correct" all this time despite thinking that I should be saying "virii". Never did think that sounded right. :-)

"PS: I am still struggling but I am NOT giving in yet!!" :p :D

03-06-2003, 06:38 PM
Words are words if people use them.

// ofcourse should be a word as well ;)

03-06-2003, 07:59 PM

reminds me of matrix

"There is another species that follows the same instincts, do you know what it is? A virus."

03-06-2003, 09:02 PM
I'm sure it's "virii". Not certain, but it's an industry term. I trust the security industry.

Susan B
03-06-2003, 10:03 PM
> Words are words if people use them.
// ofcourse should be a word as well ;)


04-06-2003, 03:04 PM
If you want to be Latinate about it, it would be "viri". There is no reason for the double-i. "Virii" would be the plural of "virius", as which there is no such word, AFAIK.

Fungus - fungi (I've seen that written as "loathsome fungii").
Cactus - cactuses or cacti (has anyone else ever stopped to ask when the Romans got far enough south - or west - to see them?)

Octopus - octopodes. But 'octopi' shows that if you invent a spurious plural, it sometimes sticks. Su I suppose we have to put up with "virii", but I still wince every time I see it.

Argus (Arguses).

"These two Antipholi, these two so like
And these two Dromiuseseses"
Shakespeare; The Comedy of Errors Act V Scene I
(as I once heard it delivered)

Billy T
04-06-2003, 03:22 PM
Jeez there's some edjumucated buggers on PF1.:O

I learn something new and interesting every day. Makes me wish I'd paid attention more when I went to skool.:(


Billy 8-{) :D