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Soapy Scrabble Squabble

Posted by R. Berg on January 17, 2003

In Reply to: Soapy Scrabble Squabble posted by James Briggs on January 17, 2003

: : : : Now, the word "suds" as we all know is a perfectly nice and acceptable plural noun - so my question is simply this. Is the singular form - sud - a real word? It's apparently not permissible in a game of Scrabble.

: : : : "She was washing her unmentionables in the sink so vigorously that a stray sud splashed up and onto her blouse."

: : : : I can't think of many nouns that only exist in the plural form. Thoughts, anyone?

: : : The OED does indeed have an entry for "sud," defined as "sing. of SUDS (q.v.)." It says nothing more about the word and gives no quotations. Apparently the word exists, though it isn't certain that anyone has ever used it outside Scrabble.

: : : A list of plural-onlies will likely accumulate here by the end of the day. Right now, nothing much occurs to me, only that "unmentionable" might qualify. Some people mistake "kudos" as a plural, but that doesn't count. "Brains," "guts," and "smarts" in slang use don't have corresponding singulars.

: : "Economics" as in "I majored in Economics and just took a job as a telemarketer".

: Sheep - this was originally singular, with 'Sheepen' as the pleural
: Trousers
: Deer

"Sheep" and "deer" are still singular, at least in U.S. use, as well as plural.

Although "manner" is singular, it isn't the singular of "manners." We don't say "Slurping your soup is a bad manner."