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

Have you ever wondered what the plural of moose is? Hopefully, you already know that it isn’t “meese.” But what is it? From this helpful guide, you’ll learn not only the plural of moose, but the origin of the animal’s name, and some other fun facts!

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What Is a Moose?

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a moose, or alces alces, is “a ruminant mammal with humped shoulders, long legs, and broadly palmated antlers that is the largest existing member of the deer family and inhabits forested areas of Canada, Alaska, the northern U.S., Europe, and Asia.”

Now, you may have read that definition and had a few questions. There are a few words mentioned there that are not exactly commonly known. Before going any further, take a moment to learn a bit more about the moose.

As you read, the moose belongs to the ruminant class, the same as cows, sheep, deer, goats, camels, and even giraffes. Ruminants are mammals – they have live young. Additionally, ruminants have hooves and stomachs with multiple chambers.

You also may have noticed that the moose’s antlers are described as “broadly palmated.” To palmate, according to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, means to resemble the shape of a hand with its fingers spreading out. If you have ever seen a moose, you know this term is fitting for their large antlers.

Interestingly, moose are a type of deer. You might look at a picture of a moose next to a picture of a deer and see some resemblance – although the moose may look like a mutated version of the deer. 

Deer and moose both belong to the Cervidae family, which also includes elk and reindeer. The main differences between deer and moose and size, speed, and antler shape. Male deer and moose both have antlers, but the antlers of a moose are distinctly shaped, being wider and broader than a deer’s antlers. 

In addition, a moose has especially wide hooves, which give it extra traction in the snow. Because the moose thrives in cold climates, these hooves serve as natural snowshoes to give the animal sure footing. 

Moose are, in fact, the largest type of deer. According to the National Wildlife Foundation, the moose is the tallest mammal in North America. Moose thrive in colder, forested areas, hence why they tend to be found in Canada and the Northern United States.

Moose are extremely solitary and spend lots of time alone. Whereas many other ruminant mammals are often found in groups, moose mostly prefer to fly solo. Like deer, cows, and other ruminants, moose are herbivores – they don’t eat any other animals.

What Is the Plural of Moose

If you were reading that last section carefully, you already know that the plural of moose is, in fact, moose. In the same way that the plural of deer is deer, moose are another ruminant mammal with the same name in both singular and plural.

You may have tried when you were younger to write “mooses,” or even “meece,” thinking about how the plural ending of mouse is mice. However, there is an explanation for moose being the same in both singular and plural.

Words of different origins often have different plural forms. The word moose comes from Native American languages. Specifically, the name moose comes from the languages of the Eastern Algonquian and Narragansett tribes. The Abenaki people did not pluralize words in the same way modern English does. This is why the plural of moose is not “mooses” or “meese!”

It may surprise you to learn that this type of atypical pluralization is not unusual in English. Old English words come from a variety of origins, all of which may use different methods of pluralization.

As you just learned, moose in its original language was a Native American word from the Algonquian language and Narragansett language. The English language is something of a melting pot, and there is an abundance of foreign language origins for words we use every day. Many English words have Germanic or Anglo-Saxon origins, but many others, like moose, come from other cultures.

How NOT to Use the Plural of Moose – With Examples

Because the plural of moose is moose, it is easy to get confused when writing about the animal. This is especially true if you have been using the wrong plural for moose all your life. Below are some examples of incorrect pluralization of moose in sentences.

–       “The meese wandered in solitude, far from the noise of civilization.”

This is incorrect because, although the plural of goose is geese and the plural of mouse is mice, moose has a different origin than these other animal names. 

–       “Majestic mooses can be found all through the national park, usually on their own.”

This is also incorrect. Even though the plural of hamster is hamsters and the plural of shark is sharks, it is best to put moose in a different grammatical category in your brain!

How to Use the Plural of Moose – With Examples

Now that you know what not to do, it’s time to learn how to use the plural of moose correctly. Here are some helpful example sentences to use as a guide!

–       “Moose are beautiful, lonesome creatures that should be protected and preserved.”

–       “He was out hunting moose ­– they were hard to find.”

–       “The moose do not often show themselves to tourists, as they are normally elusive creatures that seek solitude.”

–       “Moose do not eat other animals but rather are herbivores who feed on plants.”

–       “Moose are not endangered in America, nor are reindeer, red deer, or roe deer.

Using Your Knowledge Well

Now you know the plural of moose! Plus, you have some useful facts under your belt to throw out next time someone asks you a question about moose – although this isn’t something that happens too often in life. Nevertheless, you’re now ready for doing any writing about moose with confidence and great grammar!

Sources:

  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/moose
  2. https://www.livescience.com/27408-moose.html
  3. https://www.rd.com/article/linguistic-reason-plural-moose-isnt-meese/