What is the Plural of 'Buffalo'?

By Shanea Patterson, updated on October 24, 2022

Have you been wondering how to pluralize the word ‘buffalo’? It might seem tricky, but we’ll cover that and more in this article, including how to use both forms in a sentence correctly.

The plural form of ‘buffalo’ is ‘buffalos’ or ‘buffaloes.’ ‘Buffalo’ is the incorrect plural form of the word.

The Plural of Buffalo

We learned that the plural form of the word is either ‘buffaloes’ or ‘buffalos.’ But before we go into further detail, let’s quickly define the word so you know how to use it in a sentence later in the article.

Buffalo Definition & Meaning

The definition of the word ‘buffalo’ is “a large animal of the cattle family, with long, curved horns” and “a North American bison (= a large wild animal, similar to a cow but having a larger head and shoulders covered in hair),” according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

The Interesting History on the Buffalo and the Bison

Some people use the terms ‘buffalo’ and ‘North American Bison’ interchangeably, but according to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservative Biology Institute, the animals we see here in North America and in Europe are Bison.

The “Old World ‘true’ buffalo (Cape buffalo and water buffalo) are native to Africa and Asia,” according to the site.

Bison and buffalo can be distinguished by the large humps on the shoulders of bison. Bison also have bigger heads than buffalo.

Standard American English Plural Rules

The plural form of the word, as we learned above, is ‘buffaloes,’ or ‘buffalos.’ Either form of is acceptable to use.

The standard rules for making the plural form of a noun in the English language means adding an ‘s’ or ‘es.’

For example:

  • Cat > Cats
  • Table > Tables
  • Floor > Floors
  • Catch > Catches
  • Watch > Watches
  • Catch > Catches

To get the plural form, you’d add an ‘es’ to the end, similar to words like:

Using the Singular and Plural Forms in a Sentence

Now that you know the definition and how to pluralize it, let’s use it in a sentence in both forms.

Take a look at an example of how to use it in a sentence (singular):

  • Look at that buffalo in the field; it’s so big!
  • That buffalo must be at least five hundred pounds.

Here’s how to use it in plural form:

  • There are so many buffaloes in that exhibit.
  • Buffalos are native to Africa and Asia, the tour guide informed us.

The Possessive Form

The plural possessive form of the word is ‘buffaloes’.’ To use it in a sentence, follow this example:

  • The buffaloes’ beards look like they could use some grooming.
  • The buffaloes’ horns look so sharp.
  • The buffaloes’ habitat needs cleaning; it really stinks.

Concluding Thoughts on the Plural of 'Buffalo’ 

To recap, the plural form of the word is either ‘buffaloes’ or ‘buffalos.’ Either form is okay to use when making the plural form the word.

Don’t forget that the word follows the traditional rules of pluralization - like tomato and potato - so you can simply add an ‘s’ or ‘es.’

If you ever get confused, you can always check out our library of confusing words to refresh your memory.

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Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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