Octopi or Octopuses?
Welcome to the very first edition of Wordy Wednesday! Each week I’ll pick a word and give you a little history or a fun fact about it. They’ll be short. They’ll be funny. You’ll definitely learn something!
Today I would like to talk about octopuses. As many of you may know, the octopus is my favorite animal and it is a fascinating one.
First, the word. The word octopus comes from Greece around 1750-60. The original word was oktōpous, meaning eight-footed. In Latin, nouns ending in -us become -i in the plural form, and this trait carries over into many english words; thus, many people assume that octopus becomes octopi, but octopus is a Greek word so the rules are different. In Greek, a -us ending simply gets an -es for the plural. So if you really want to impress your friends, make sure you refer to them as octopuses, not octopi. There doesn’t seem to be an agreed upon collective noun for a group of octopuses (they don’t tend to hang out with each other much) so in that sense you can make up your own. My vote goes to a “tangle” of octopuses.
Other fun facts…Octopuses are invertebrates and the only hard part of their body is their beak (it looks like a parrot beak), so they can squeeze through any opening larger than this beak. They have three hearts and their blood is blue colored. All their vital organs are housed in their head except their main nervous system that is spread through every individual arm. Each suction cup (over 200 per arm!) has a mind of its own! As one of my favorite videos on octopuses (see it HERE) points out though, “what if you found out one of your arms was an asshole. That would suck.”
I even love octopuses so much I decided to adorn myself with one forever; just hanging out on my shoulder keeping me company. He’s a bit quiet, but he’s very attached to me… (Yes, that was a pun).
I hope this first edition of wordy wednesday was entertaining. Check back for a new edition each Wednesday! You can also check it out using #wordywednesday on Facebook (JeanettetheWriter) and Instagram (@JeanettetheWriter) and of course, right here on my blog! Suggestions for new words are welcomed!