Do You Own More Than One Prius?

A Toyota press release, via the fine folks at Engadget:

Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), USA, Inc. today announced that the general public has selected ‘Prii’ as the preferred plural term for Prius.

The Prius Goes Plural voting campaign was launched on January 10 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit and challenged the public to help the automaker determine the plural nomenclature of Prius. The campaign coincided with the world premiere of the Toyota Prius family of vehicles. With 25 percent of the votes, Prii becomes the word not only endorsed by the public who chose it, but also as the term recognized by Toyota. As such, Dictionary.com has updated its entry for the word ‘Prius’ to reflect this.

Toyota unveiled the winning word at the Chicago Auto Show this morning. Jay Schwartz, head of content for Dictionary.com, was on hand to inform the public that, as the plural of Prius has now been determined, the term ‘Prii’ will be reflected in Dictionary.com.

After the more than 1.8 million votes were cast during the course of the six-week campaign, Prii beat out its four competitors: Prius, Priuses, Prium and Prien. Prius came in at a close second with 24 percent of the votes. A video recap of the campaign and winning word celebration can be viewed at http://www.ToyotaPriusProjects.com.

“Community has always been a big part of the Prius brand, so it was only fitting that we invite the online communities to participate in the plural discussion,” said Colin Morisako, advertising manager for Toyota. “The people have spoken-Prii will be the accepted term used to describe multiple Prius vehicles going forward.”

I think the Engadget folks got it right … we are looking on admonishingly. They seem to be thinking Prius is a second declension masculine noun like dominus which has a stem ‘pri’  — which doesn’t make sense — or it’s like filius and has a stem ‘pr’ — which also doesn’t make sense. We probably should point out that the Latin word prius is actually an adverb (meaning ‘before’) which can’t be pluralized by dropping the -us and adding an -i.

… I’m glad I drive a Nissan (a Rogue, of course) …

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