Make Your Editor Cry: Amoeba (Awkward Plural)

Make Your Editor Cry:  Amoeba (Awkward Plural)

BLUF: (Bottom Line Up Front)
The plural of amoeba rightly is amoebae and wrongly can also be amoebas.

amoeba: any of a large genus (Amoeba) of naked rhizopod protozoans with lobed and never anastomosing pseudopodia, without permanent organelles or supporting structures, and of wide distribution in fresh and salt water and moist terrestrial environments

The singular of amoeba is amoeba. The proper plural of amoeba is amoebae with an added -e or wrongly and ignorantly amoebas with an added -s.

The noun amoeba has a Latin root, which is the derivation of the Latin plural amoebae. Through common usage, amoebas with an added -s, which conforms to the standard rules for forming plurals in English, is now also acceptable these days in the vulgate, though frowned upon because, you know, look up the meaning of “vulgate.”

At least in the narrative, be sure to use the proper Latin plural.


This amoeba (singular) is predatory and lives by consuming bacteria.
Amoebae (plural) are so tiny that you need a microscope to see them.

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