One thing I love about our site is that completely unrelated conversations get sparked in our comments. Holy Grail entries often come with extra grails in the comments and our pro designer’s take on the Jeep Grand Wagoneer sparks a discussion about the plural of the Toyota Prius. Wait, what?
The Toyota Prius has been around since 1997 (2001 here in the United States) and despite more than two decades of existence, the hybrid still sparks discussions. This car has long been the butt of jokes and bizarre videos. Just last year, the old site published a slideshow naming the Prius one of the worst cars Toyota has ever built.
Really, the Prius is a fine car for what it’s designed to do. It’s made to get great fuel economy, not handle like a supercar. Through all of this time, one debate remains: What is the plural of Prius?
In 2011, Toyota tried to settle the debate. To do so, Toyota let the public choose. A six-week campaign began at the North American International Auto Show. Toyota got 1.8 million votes and Prii got 25 percent of the vote, winning out against Prius, Priuses, Prium, and Prien.
The debate raged on in our comments on the story about Adrian fixing the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Mabus said:
You know what sounds rugged for the GW? Cutting down redwoods for the GW Redwood edition… a big vehicle needs big wood. Despite the fact that Sequoioideae are endangered, it’s AMERICAN AF! Nothing says you’re a rugged cowboy quite like getting behind the wheel of a giant gas-sucking road monster that will crawl over any rock, with you and your 17 best buds, while sitting on the finest eel-skin seats that a redneck millionaire can afford with only the highest of fidelity audio systems for blasting out Garth Brooks (and the occasional Drake track, armirite?) and saying FU to all of the plebian prii (not priuses, because that doesn’t sound right) trying to get in your way on the 20-lane freeways of dallas! And there’s still that real redwood riding slabside and on the dash to remind you how awesome you are.
That kicked off this funny exchange:
Much as I hate to get in the way of your rant, “prii” also doesn’t sound right. Leaving aside the questions of various shifts in Latin orthography, the plural of prius is priora.
Years ago, when the Prius C and Prius V were on sale, Toyota ran a survey on what the plural of Prius should be. “Prii” was the winner.
Oh, I know, but millennia ago the Romans decided that the plural is priora. I didn’t take all those years of Latin in college just to put up with a car company trying to change the rules via a customer survey; one unquestioned advantage of learning a dead language is that it’s dead.
Then Drew came in with some chaos:
Following what I know of the mess around the plural of octopus (octopi, octopuses, and octopodes are all acceptable, since we have a language that just takes whatever it wants), let’s go with Priodes. (Priuses, Priora, Prii, and those little Toyota hybrids are all also acceptable plurals.)
And mdharrell took things to their natural conclusion:
If I were inclined to compromise on this point, which I am not, I suppose I’d be okay with Prioraiiusesodes appearing in all official Toyota documentation.
That’s a whole lot of comments on an article that has nothing to do with the Prius! I think mdharrell takes the COTD win today, with the rest of you being hilarious honorable mentions. This is all sorts of silly and a bit fun. I love to watch silly debates like this.
As a bit of housekeeping, I will explain something that some of you have been witnessing. Some readers have voiced concerns about comments that get edited or removed. We love our readers and commenters here at the Autopian and with time, we want to become one of the best places to chat about cars. Part of that is keeping our comment sections from turning into the kinds of places you’ve undoubtedly seen elsewhere. You know the comment sections; they’re full of insults, attacks, or completely nonsensical rants.
We want to allow all of you to speak your mind as you please. We don’t even currently have an equivalent of the gray system of Kinja. However, please be mindful that there is another person on the other side of the screen. Are you going to say something that will get you slapped by your mother? It’s probably best to say it differently. If things go way too far, our editors may edit or remove comments. So, keep that in mind.
Have a great evening [Editor’s Note: Morning now! -DT] everyone!
More importantly, what’s the collective noun for a group of Priuses (or Prii)? I nominate yawn. A yawn of Priuses (or Prii).
I thought it was coma.
I’m most likely getting it wrong, but how ’bout a “botrum of priora”?
What’s the plural of Yaris, then? It’s sort of named after a Greek goddess, so would they be Yares?
The grammatically consistent answer would be Yarites, therefore I assume it’s not that.
I always refer to them as Prions, because of the mad cow disease association back when the Prius was peak insufferable eco smug. My attitude has softened as the insufferable fandom moved to Tesla and the Prius became more of a mainstream car and less of a virtue signal.
Proper moderation is hard, but also crucial to keeping an online community healthy. While there’s room for discussion around specific incidents (though all of the ones I’ve seen so far were clearly justified), there need be no discussion about whether moderation is appropriate or necessary. It is.
The plural is “Prius cars” or “Prius vehicles”. DONE.
Jumpin’ Jimminy Jeebus! I set the internet on fire! (or at least our small corner of it anyways).
Ooh, I can hit a couple touchy subjects at once here. Teslas–what is the plural of individual models? I would offer Models [3, Y, X, S]. For the Cybertruck, there’s no need, of course. Don’t need a plural when you can’t produce a singular. If it is ever produced, I think the plural should be Cybers Trucks or massive triangles.
Plural of cybertrucks should be polygons
I always took the plural to simply be Prius the same as the singular, just like with deer, moose, or other Capreolinae mammal of your choice.
The past tense of a Prius is, of course, a Priori.
And the future tense would be appropriato, or perhaps this is entire chain of thought is just inappropriusto…
While I appreciate linguistic pedantry as much as the next guy, Priora would be too easily confused with the Lada Priora, methinks. If you’re Toyota, the last thing you want is for one of your iconic cars (love it or hate it – and make no mistake, I hate it – the Prius is one) to share a name with an anemic Russian compact whose “Lux” package includes such opulence as a passenger airbag, ABS, A/C, and seatbelt pretensioners.
None of my vehicles have any of those things so I’m okay with calling it opulence.
Y’all don’t have a stylebook at Autopian?
Proper names don’t follow the funny plural rules that regular nouns do. So the plural of Prius is simply Priuses.
That would make sense, but Toyota ran a survey and then announced the official plural is Prii. Which sort of seems like it follows the Latin grammatical rules, but actually does not.
Of course, Latin grammatical rules don’t need to apply for a model name used by a Japanese company in English-speaking markets. Prii is the proper plural by virtue of Toyota’s official choice. Anything else ranges from ridiculous to acceptable to pedantic.
For the record, Priodes is not correct in any sense, since there is no reason to use a Greek plural here. I just really enjoy the debates around octopods.
The Japanese language doesn’t have singular/plural so it would be one prius or two prius in Japanese.
I see you like to play “one prius – two prius”
…red Prius, blue Prius!
My go-to style guide for English prose, the 1964 Motor’s Auto Repair Manual, 27th Edition, is oddly silent on the question of the plural for Prius, which is one of the few disappointments I’ve found within its pages.
We do! David handed out copies of Strunk & White at our first in-person sit-down meeting last summer. I’m not kidding.
However, please be mindful that there is another person on the other side of the screen.
As a solipsist, I’m not sure there even is any other person. If my mind is all that exists, I’m just being mean to myself, and I know how much I deserve that.
Joking aside, I’m glad to see the human touch. If we’re going to grow a community here, discouraging people by leaving them in the greys or allowing abuse is no help at all.
“…keeping our comment sections from turning into… completely nonsensical rants.”
Much as I appreciate winning COTD, awarding it for Prioraiiusesodes is sending a bit of a mixed message here.
Maybe we should have a car trim level basis for commenter standing. Following first gen rx7 trims you start out, or are knocked back down to, S, then move up through the ranks to GS, GSL, to GSL-SE. Or maybe car types, you start out in penalty eco-box, all they way through to 60s land yacht, the peak of automotive excellence!
Please no. Commenter ranking would bring about a whole lot of other issues.
I believe “priora” is correct (it comes from prius, prioris). Prius is 3rd declension neuter according to William Whittaker’s words, the Latin Dictionary Bible. Prii would be correct if it were 2nd declension masculine/feminine.
Yes, I took Latin and you better believe you’re gonna hear about it any chance I get to use it.
Whitaker (one “t”) is useful but the dictionary I keep handy is “A New and Copious Lexicon of the Latin Language; Compiled Chiefly from the Magnum Totius Latinitatis Lexicon of Facciolati and Forcellini, and the German Works of Scheller and Luenemann” as edited by Leverett, 1844. I supplement this with “A Glossary of Later Latin to 600 A.D.” by Souter, 1949, for words added or repurposed between around 180 A.D. and (surprise!) 600 A.D., and the “Mediae Latinitatis Lexicon Minus” of Niermeyer, 1984, for medieval stuff. Overall it’s not a perfect approach but these usually get the job done.
Anyway, yeah, priora.
I expected the first book to be a joke, but I may just have to buy it.
It’s pretty good. The Latin-English section, which is to say the bulk of it, of course doesn’t benefit from any of the discoveries and scholarship of the last couple of centuries (more or less), but the English-Latin section is much more thoughtful and comprehensive than is usually the case for such works.
To be clear, this is not to suggest that the English-Latin section demonstrates any noticeable improvements attributable to time travel which the Latin-English section lacks, merely that its out-of-date shortcomings aren’t as important when using that section, for my purposes at least.
To be fair (To beeee faaaaaaaaiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrr)
To be fair, I’ve known some folk that their mamas speak much more hate and nastiness than they do.
I prefer to go with “would what you’re saying make Mr Rogers proud of you?”