The Difference Between Antennas and Antennae

Album Cover: Kid A

"We got heads on sticks. You got ventriloquists."
Radiohead / Kid A

Posted on September 27, 2007 3:40 PM in Miscellaneous
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

I was IMing a co-worker today about TV antennas, and I kept writing "antennae," thinking I was being all smart and stuff. Turns out I was being silly.

Antennae is the plural form of "antenna," or one of the paired, flexible, segmented sensory appendages on the head of an insect.

Antennas is the plural form of "antenna," or a metallic apparatus for sending or receiving electromagnetic waves.

So don't be silly like me. Just remember, antennas are made of metal; antennae are made of evolution.

Comments

Ian Clifton on September 27, 2007 at 10:43 PM:

That's okay; most of my professors use "practica" for the plural of "practicum," yet the dictionaries I've checked all just say "practicums." Most words have been "dummy-fied" anyway, so octopus, cactus, syllabus, etc. can all be "-uses" or "-i."

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John Brunner on December 11, 2015 at 9:02 PM:

Octopus cannot be -i. Only Latin-based words like cactus are pluralized with -i, hence cacti.

Greek-based words are not. The plural of octopus is octopodes or octupuses, NOT octopi.

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