‘Hippopotamuses’ or ‘Hippopotami’ or ‘Hippos’: What’s the Plural of Hippo?

By Kristy Ramirez, updated on November 8, 2022

You’ve probably heard the song about the little girl who wants a 'hippopotamus' for Christmas. Have you ever wondered what that song would sound like if she wanted more than one? Most people don’t know how to make the word 'hippopotamus' plural, so they shy away from using it. Fortunately, 'hippopotamus' does follow standard pluralization rules.

What is the plural of 'hippopotamus'? The plural of 'hippopotamus' is ‘hippopotamuses. However, that’s just the beginning. ‘Hippopotami’ and ‘hippos’ can also be used.

What is a ‘Hippopotamus’?

A 'hippopotamus,' also called a 'hippo,' is a semiaquatic animal that is very large. Sometimes called water horses, they are the third largest living mammal that roams the land. These animals are native to Africa, and in a large group of them together is called a bloat.

What is the Plural of ‘Hippopotamus’?

The correct plural of 'hippopotamus' is 'hippopotamuses.' The word 'hippopotamus' follows the regular rules for making a word plural when it ends with ‘s.’ 'Hippopotamus' comes from a Greek root, so ‘hippopotamuses’ is the logical and accurate way to make it plural.

‘Hippopotamuses’ Versus ‘Hippopotami’ Versus ‘Hippos’

To add another layer, 'hippopotamuses' isn’t the only way to make the word 'hippopotamus' plural. ‘Hippopotami’ is also an acceptable word to use when you’re talking about more than one 'hippopotamus.' In fact, there are other nouns that have more than one correct way to make them plural. Though most words have a preferred plural version, there are still other options that are considered allowable.

'Hippopotami' is the way the word would be made plural if it had a Latin root. It does not have a Latin root, but even the Brittanica dictionary acknowledges this way of pluralizing 'hippopotamus.'

You’ve likely also heard the term 'hippos' to describe more than one 'hippopotamus,' and this word is also considered acceptable since 'hippo' is a shortened word meaning 'hippopotamus.'

Using ‘Hippopotamuses’ in a Sentence

The hippopotamuses stood together in the enclosure.

I saw hippopotamuses at the zoo.

Using ‘Hippopotami’ in a Sentence

There was a group of hippopotami surrounding the man.

Hippopotami are found in Africa, and they love water.

Using ‘Hippos’ in a Sentence

We played the game Hungry Hippos when we were kids.

A group of hippos is called bloat, which seems like a very appropriate name.

Final Thoughts on the Plural of ‘Hippopotamus’

The preferred way to pluralize 'hippopotamus' is by using the word 'hippopotamuses.' While 'hippopotami' is an acceptable way to make 'hippopotamus' plural, it’s not the most grammatically correct option. You can also use 'hippos' as a way to make the word 'hippo' plural.

Don't worry if it's strange not to have one definitive rule to follow when you make a word plural. Check out other confusing words that stump many word lovers. The good news is with the word 'hippopotamus', it's hard to pick a plural form that is wrong.

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Written By:
Kristy Ramirez
Kristy Ramirez has a BA in English and taught English/Language Arts to middle school students for a decade. She has been a freelance writer for seven years and spends most of her free time reading.

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