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What’s the Plural of Moose?

Make no moose-take, the only correct plural of moose is moose, sans -s.

Last updated on February 6th, 2024 at 10:05 pm



What’s the plural of “moose”?

Have you ever seen a moose? What about two … mooses? Meese? What’s the plural of moose, anyway? Make no moose-take, and read this article to make sure you know your English plural noun forms. The takeaway on the plural of moose is:

  • The plural of moose is moose, without the “s” at the end.

  • Mooses or meese are both incorrect, and are not recognized words in English.

A bull moose in South Fork Eagle River, Alaska. By Paxson Woelber.
A moose in South Fork Eagle River, Alaska. By Paxson Woelber


The plural of moose, (or alces alces, in Latin), is commonly mistaken as meese, or mooses. It’s an understandable mistake, but one you can avoid.

NounSentence examples
singularmoosecorrect: We were fortunate to see a solitary moose during our canoe trip.

incorrect: Moose live in these parts of the woods.
pluralmoosecorrect: This area is home to plenty of elk, deer and moose.

incorrect: Elk and the occasional mooses wander the fields


Why is “moose” the plural of “moose”?

English is a consistently inconsistent language, but at least there are reasons for the inconsistency. Most words in English have varied origins and histories, and some were introduced to Modern English much earlier or later than others.


Nouns like goose, tooth and feet date back much earlier than the moose, and are etymologically dissimilar. Goose, tooth, foot and many other nouns in English come from the Germanic languages, which used a form of pluralization known as the Germanic umlaut (also called i-mutation or i-umlaut). The I-umlaut is what we see with the swapping of double ‘o’s from a singular with ‘e’s as a plural with words like goose, tooth and foot.



As it turns out, the great moose is also a ‘loanword‘ in English. Loanwords are words that have been borrowed, or brought down from different languages (think cafe from French, or taco from Spanish) that we’ve integrated into regular English. Moose was introduced into English in 1606 from the Algonquian languages (specifically the Innu people of Quebec, Canada), “moos”, meaning “stripper and eater of bark”.


So the lesson is this: when in doubt, look to language of origin. The other lesson is that  goose, tooth and foot are all German words and use the I-mutation (the swapping of inner vowels to add meaning or count), which is a German linguistic thing that Modern English inherited. Moose, also inherited (or a ‘loanword’), but from a different culture, with their own set of linguistic rules and conventions.

“Stubborn nouns” (single-form nouns)

Irregular nouns with one form.

Nouns with one form. By Gflex on Canva.



Examples of “moose” in the media

Yes, like other members of the deer family, moose shed their antlers annually.

—Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 5 Dec. 2023

Elk and the occasional moose wander the fields; cows rest beneath the cottonwoods that grow along winding creeks.

—Christopher Flavelle, New York Times, 24 Nov. 2023

Deer, elk, reindeer and moose can all be affected by chronic wasting disease, which has been found in North America, Norway and South Korea, according to the CDC.

—Li Cohen, CBS News, 17 Nov. 2023


Examples of sentences with “moose”, singular

I’ve never seen a moose with such big antlers!

I came upon a moose with her calf while walking in the forest.

There’s an aggressive moose that regularly visits my house.

The bull moose was on the loose.


Examples of “moose”, plural, in sentences

‍Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it.

Henry David Thoreau

A herd of moose emerged from the woods.

Expect to spot bison, elk, deer, moose, coyote and many winter birds during your ski.

Other wildlife one can encounter in the winter includes moose, deer, fox and otter.

He set off for a nineteen-day moose hunt in Nova Scotia.

What’s the singular of “moose”?

A moose. The singular and plural of moose are the same; both are moose. Moose is irregular since it stays the same singular and plural, and does not add an -s is to denote its plural form. In cases where a singular and plural noun form are identical, we can typically indicate count from the sentence context.

What do you call a male and female moose?

  • Male are bull moose; females are cow moose.
  • A young moose is a calf.
  • The collective noun term for moose is “a herd“. E.g., “I could see a herd of moose grazing the fields yonder“.

Origin of moose

Moose derives from the Algonquian languages, most likely the Narragansett (present day Rhose Island), moos, meaning ‘stripper and eater of bark,’ since moose eat bark during the winter, and are herbivores (Etymonline, moose).

Sources  

  1. The Elk House
  2. Origin of moose
  3. Plural of animals quiz
  4. Wikipedia contributors. “Germanic umlaut.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 18 Aug. 2023. Web. 3 Oct. 2023.
  5. Geist, Valerius. “moose”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 21 Nov. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/animal/moose-mammal. Accessed 9 December 2023.Copy Citation

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