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What’s the Plural of Codex?

The plural of codex is codexes and codices. Codex comes from the Latin, and uses Latin suffixes.

What’s the plural of “codex”?

The plural of codex is codexes or codices. A codex is understood as “a manuscript book especially of Scripture, classics, or ancient annals”, as stated by Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Codices (note the strange plural noun form) were considered one of the earliest, if not the earliest notion of the modern book, which contains a collection of pages stitched together along the side.

The invention of the codex is what allowed the earlier scrolls (which were made of ‘rolls of papyrus and wax tablets’) to be replaced with codexes/codices. The advantage of codices over scrolls were numerous; but primarily it allowed to quickly locate certain passages, and enabled for writing to be on both sides of the page, whereas scrolls did not.

Is codex singular or plural?

Codex is singular. Codexes and codices are both plurals for the sing. n. codex. This pl. n. form, while strange by the standards set by English noun modification, is standard by the Latin singular/plural noun forms.

Latin words that are still used in English today may end in –ex as a singular noun, and typically as a plural such nouns modify to –ces: index/indices; or appendix/appendices; and apex/apices. Over time, the standard pl. n. form of Modern English (which says to add an -s/-es to show a pl. n.) has come to be accepted as well as the original Latinate pl. forms.

Other Latin nouns

indexindexes and indices
matrixmatrices and matrixes
appendixappendices or appendexes
codexcodices or codexes
vortexvortices or vortexes
vertexvertices or vertexes
apexapices or apexes

Examples of codex used in context

The following sentences show the correct use of the word codex in context:

1. The codex was kept at Westminster College in Cambridge until 2010, when Steve Green, president of Hobby Lobby, purchased it from Sotheby’s. (Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, 20 Oct. 2022)

2. The show at the Getty marks only the third time ever the codex will go on public display. (Los Angeles Times, 30 Aug. 2022)

3. The frame, and the codex, are just an excuse to gather together some tales that folks have long been telling together. (Namwali Serpell, The New York Review of Books, 6 July 2022)

4. Italy’s acquisitive Medici dynasty acquired it a few decades after the codex was completed. (Los Angeles Times, 28 Dec. 2021)

5. The codex’s text is divided into weekly sections as read in synagogues. (Edward Rothstein, WSJ, 21 Apr. 2022)

Examples of codexes/codices used in context

The following sentences show the correct use of the word codexes/codices in context:

1. The artist stated he was fascinated by codices and other historical works that take advantage of signs and images to convey their meaning. (Retrieved from Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 https://cr)

2. These codices passed to the Marciana, and Zanetti catalogued them as the Fondo antico.

3. During his tenure he promoted the construction of underground storage for the conservation and consultation of all the codices and printed books of the library. (Retrieved from Wikipedia CC BY-SA 3.0 https://c)

4. There are also 451 codices in eleven alphabets and 24 languages and dialects.

5. But the tests were inconclusive, mainly because there are few examples of lead with which to compare the codices.

Origin of the word codex

From etymonline on codex:

Manuscript volume (especially an ancient one),” 1845, from Latin codex “book” (see code (n.)). Related: Codical.

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  1. “Codex.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jan. 2023.
  2. Harper Douglas, “Etymology of codex,” Online Etymology Dictionary, accessed January 15, 2023,
  3. Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Codex Sinaiticus”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 15 Mar. 2017, Accessed 15 January 2023.

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