Monday, October 22, 2007


Did you know that kudos is the plural form of kudo?? I shake my head. The wonders of the verbal world never cease. I had to look it up after I saw it in a NYT headline today. Remember kudos bars? I used to have those at my friend's house. And watch TV and stuff. It was like, totally awesomer than practicing piano. I also would confuse kudos with klondike bars. Congratulations, here's some ice cream! But then I also thought UV rays were called ultraviolent — you know, cuz they are harmful. It's LOGICAL.

I like how somebody at merriam-webster got a little snippy in this note on the usage of the word kudos. Maybe they got too many ultraviolent rays.
But kudo does exist; it is simply one of the most recent words created by back-formation from another word misunderstood as a plural. Kudos was introduced into English in the 19th century; it was used in contexts where a reader unfamiliar with Greek could not be sure whether it was singular or plural. By the 1920s it began to appear as a plural, and about 25 years later kudo began to appear. It may have begun as a misunderstanding, but then so did cherry and pea.

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