late 14c., originally in grammar (distinguished from singular), "containing or consisting of more than one," from Old French plurel "more than one" (12c., Modern French pluriel) and directly from Latin pluralis "of or belonging to more than one," from plus (genitive pluris) "more" (see plus). The noun meaning "a plural number" is from late 14c.
Entries linking to plural
1570s, the oral rendering of the arithmetical sign +, also "more by a certain amount" (correlative to minus), from Latin plus "more, in greater number, more often" (comparative of multus "much"), altered (by influence of minus) from *pleos, from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill" (see poly-). The plus sign itself has been well-known at least since late 15c. and is perhaps an abbreviation of Latin et (see et cetera).
As a preposition, between two numbers to indicate addition, from 1660s. [Barnhart writes that this sense "did not exist in Latin and probably originated in commercial language of the Middle Ages;" OED writes that "the words plus and minus were used by Leonardo of Pisa in 1202."] Placed after a whole number to indicate "and a little more," it is attested by 1902. As a conjunction, "and, and in addition," it is American English colloquial, attested by 1968. As a noun meaning "an advantage" from 1791. Plus fours "distinctive style of long, wide knickerbockers" (1921) were four inches longer in the leg than standard knickerbockers, to produce an overhang, originally a style associated with golfers.
*pelə-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to fill," with derivatives referring to abundance and multitude.
It forms all or part of: accomplish; complete; compliment; comply; depletion; expletive; fele; fill; folk; full (adj.); gefilte fish; hoi polloi; implement; manipulation; nonplus; plebe; plebeian; plebiscite; pleiotropy; Pleistocene; plenary; plenitude; plenty; plenum; plenipotentiary; pleo-; pleonasm; plethora; Pliocene; pluperfect; plural; pluri-; plus; Pollux; poly-; polyamorous; polyandrous; polyclinic; polydactyl; polydipsia; Polydorus; polyethylene; polyglot; polygon; polygraph; polygyny; polyhedron; polyhistor; polymath; polymer; polymorphous; Polynesia; polyp; Polyphemus; polyphony; polysemy; polysyllabic; polytheism; replenish; replete; supply; surplus; volkslied.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit purvi "much," prayah "mostly;" Avestan perena-, Old Persian paru "much;" Greek polys "much, many," plethos "people, multitude, great number," ploutos "wealth;" Latin plus "more," plenus "full;" Lithuanian pilus "full, abundant;" Old Church Slavonic plunu; Gothic filu "much," Old Norse fjöl-, Old English fela, feola "much, many;" Old English folgian; Old Irish lan, Welsh llawn "full;" Old Irish il, Welsh elu "much."
updated on July 17, 2020