The Plural of Mango: Here’s What It Is and How to Use It

The mango is an internationally recognized dietary staple for many cultures and demographics, but like many other words within the English language, its grammatical structure does carry a bit of mystery and can be utterly confusing.  Our word of the day’s pluralization is the subject of debate, and even Google search results seem to differ on how to actually use the word mango properly.  In this article, let’s explore the proper use and definition of mango, how to pluralize this tropical fruit, look for its synonyms, and learn its context.

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What is the plural form of mango?

The Merriam Webster Dictionary describes a mango as, “a tropical usually large ovoid or oblong fruit with a firm yellowish-red skin, hard central stone, and juicy aromatic pulp; also : an evergreen tree (Mangifera indica) of the cashew family that bears mangoes.”  The proper pluralization of the word, if you were still wondering, is actually mangoes, not mangos.  Even though mangos seems like the more common and more easily recognizable pluralization, especially with avocados being correct and avocadoes being incorrect, mangos is actually incorrect.  This is a result of convoluted etymology, which will be discussed in greater depth later in the article.

However, to make a long story short, English borrows (or just completely steals) most of its words from other languages rather than actually creating its own words, but that actually stems from the fact that the English speaking world also just sailed around the world “borrowing” (stealing) from every culture they discovered because that was just more exciting than actually creating something of their own.  Languages like Latin, German, Spanish, and Greek heavily influence modern American English, not only in definition and translation but also in pronunciation and grammatical concepts. 

How do you spell mangoes?

The correct spelling of the pluralization of the noun mango is mangoes, spelled m-a-n-g-o-e-s.  Part of the reason that some people think that it could be spelled mangos without an “e” is due to the fact that the word has been somewhat Americanized.  Language is dictated by culture, and the culture of a certain time period or region can actually impact what words are considered correct.

For example, the word “selfie” was recently added to several official dictionaries because the culture that we live in actually caused the word to become so popular that its definition was considered valid.  Commonality of words has a huge impact on what is considered to be “correct”, and even definitions of commonly used words have changed over the years, sometimes actually making “normal” words into words with vulgar or unacceptable definitions, like the old English word for donkey which now has a completely different meaning which refers to someone’s rear end.          

The History and Origin of the Word

The history of the word mango is actually a bit different from the majority of English words.  While many words in English come from European origins, namely Latin, Greek, and German roots, the word mango actually has combined roots in the Indian, Portuguese, and Malay languages.  The Portuguese manga, the Malay word mangga, and the Tamil word mankay (from “man”, meaning mango tree and “kay” meaning fruit), the word has a rich history.  

Mango trees were originally brought from Timor to British gardens in Jamaica and St. Vincent in the year 1793, which was the first time the word was actively recognized as valid within the English society and language.  As it became more integrated into British English and American English, the word has gone through many iterations, which is why the word “mangoes” gets confused and misspelled as “mangos” so often.  Maybe sometime soon, if culture continues to use “mangos” primarily, that norm will change and “mangos” will be the correct spelling.  However, for now, mangoes still remains the correct spelling due to this sweet fruit’s etymology.

Words that are of South American or Asian origin usually have different rules to their grammar and pronunciation and spelling than words with European origin.  For example, some other plural noun endings that are spelled with added “e” are also not European in their origins.  

  • Potatoes
  • Archipelagoes
  • Buffaloes
  • Embargoes

All these words have Spanish, Greek, or Asian origins rather than Latin, Italian, or German.    

Examples of the Word in Context

One of the best ways to understand how to use a word properly is to read or hear example sentences of it being used in its correct context.  Here are some examples of both the singular and plural of mango being used correctly.

  • “Does this smoothie have a mango in it?  It’s one of my favorite fruits to add to a smoothie because it is so versatile!”
  • “Hey, do you need me to grab any mangoes from the produce section while we are here?”
  • “Dude, have you heard how healthy mangoes are?  They are really supposed to have a lot of vitamins and you can put them in just about anything from fruit salad to juice to desserts.”

Synonyms for Mango

Another great way to understand a word’s definition or context is to explore synonyms of a word.  However, unfortunately, there really are no synonyms for mango within the current English language, because mango describes a very specific kind of fruit.  While there are related fruits such as the papaya, even those fruits have their own specific names and are not actually considered synonymous to mango.  

In Summary

The word mango is a very creative word, and it is part of the English language now because the fruit is recognized as a common part of many people’s diets.  And although it breaks the “rule” for how most nouns are made plural, it still does follow a rule borrowed from other languages.  Hopefully now you feel fully prepared to use the word mango in any setting, conversationally or written.