Inflected Forms

The plural forms of nouns, the past tense, past participle, and present participle forms of verbs, and the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives and adverbs are known as inflected forms. In most instances, these forms are regular (that is, they are formed by the addition of -s or -es to nouns, -ed and -ing to verbs, and -er and -est to adjectives and adverbs). These regular inflected forms are not shown in this dictionary. Irregular inflected forms, such as those that involve a change in the spelling of the root word or a doubling of a final letter, are shown in boldface.

Just as with variants of main entries, variants of inflected forms are equal when they are separated by or. If they are out of alphabetical order, the one shown first is slightly more common. Variants separated by also are not equal, however, and the one shown first is considerably more common than the other. Even so, both variants are acceptable.

An effort is usually made to save space in showing inflected forms by showing only the last part for words of more than two syllables. The form is usually cut back to the point that corresponds to the last indicated end-of-line division in the main entry.

can*di*da*cyn, pl -cies
or*ga*nizevb -nized; -nizing

Inflected forms whose own alphabetical places are more than one column away from the main entry are given separate entry there with a cross-reference in small capital letters to the main entry.

geese plural of goose
brought past and past participle of bring

PLURALS OF NOUNS

Nouns that form their plurals simply by the addition of -s or -es are not shown unless there is a chance that they may be mistaken or misspelled.

mon*keyn, pl monkeys (not monkies)
mon*goosen, pl mon*goos*es (not mongeese)

Nouns that form their plurals in any other way than by the addition of -s or -es to an unchanged base have such plurals shown.

cad*dyn, pl caddies(-y changes to -i-)
childn, pl chil*dren (irregular ending)
knifen, pl knives (-f- changes to -v-)
oa*sisn, pl oa*ses (Greek plural)
se*tan, pl se*tae (Latin plural)
ser*aphn, pl ser*a*phim…(Hebrew plural)
deern, pl deer (no change at all)

Most compound nouns form their plural by pluralizing the final element. Such plurals are not shown when the final element is a recognizable word entered at its own place (such as blueberry and eyetooth). Plurals for compounds that pluralize any but the last element are shown.

mother–in–lawn, pl mothers–in–law
postmaster general n, pl postmasters general

Plurals are also given for all entries that have variant plural forms.

1in*dexn, pl in*dex*esor in*di*ces
mon*si*gnorn, pl monsignors or mon*si*gno*ri
ban*jon, pl banjos also banjoes

Irregular plural forms are also entered at their own alphabetical place in this dictionary when they fall more than one column away from the singular entry. You will find the plural form feet, for example, entered at its own alphabetical place between feeling and feetfirst because it falls more than a column away from the singular foot. However, the irregular plural oxen is not shown at its own place because it does not fall more than a column away from ox. Irregular plurals that are shown at their own alphabetical place have a cross-reference in small capital letters to the singular form.

lice plural of louse
media plural of medium

FORMS OF VERBS

Some inflected forms of a verb are especially important because they are used to form all of the verb tenses. These forms are the present tense, past tense, past participle, and present participle. Most verbs in English form the past tense and past participle by the addition of -ed to the base form, which is also the present tense form. They form the present participle by the addition of -ing to the base form. These verbs are considered to be regular, and their inflected forms are not shown in this dictionary.

Inflected forms are shown if they are created in any other way, even if it is no more than a matter of dropping a final -e before the ending is added. Variants of inflected forms are always shown. When the past participle has the same form as the past tense, only one form is shown.

1blowvb blew…; blown…; blow*ing
1fadevb fad*ed; fad*ing
1chopvb chopped; chop*ping
2bias vb bi*ased or bi*assed; bi*as*ing or bi*as*sing
2picnic vb pic*nicked; pic*nick*ing
1fryvb fried; fry*ing

FORMS OF ADJECTIVES AND ADVERBS

Most adjectives and adverbs form their comparative and superlative forms with the words more or most or with the addition of -er and -est to the simple form. These adjectives and adverbs are considered regular, and such forms are not shown in this dictionary. Any other spelling changes (such as the changing of -y to -i-, the doubling of the final consonant, or the dropping of -e) are shown. All variant forms are shown. To save space, superlative forms are often cut back to the ending -est.

1goodadj bet*ter…; best
madadj mad*der; mad*dest
2dandy adj dan*di*er; -est
3fine adj fin*er; fin*est
1ear*lyadv ear*li*er; -est
2much adv more; most
spryadj spri*er or spry*er…; spri*est also spry*est