Earlier mus, moos, from a Northeastern Algonquian language name for the animal, such as Massachusett moos, mws (cognate to Narragansett moos, Penobscot mos, Abenaki moz), from moos-u (“he strips, cuts smooth”), from Proto-Algonquian *mo·swa, referring to how a moose strips tree bark when feeding.
- (US) The largest member of the deer family (Alces alces), of which the male has very large, palmate antlers.
- We saw a moose at the edge of the woods by the marsh.
- plural form of
- (informal) An ugly person
- The use of moose in the plural is sometimes problematic. The regularly formed plural, mooses, is by now rare and its use may be regarded as irksome and uneuphonious. The form meese—formed by analogy with goose → geese—will in most cases be greeted with a snicker, and is thus generally only appropriate in humorous contexts; even pragmatics notwithstanding, because moose has Algonquian origins—wholly unrelated to the Germanic roots of goose, on whose pattern the plural meese is formed—an umlaut plural form is etymologically inconsistent. The etymologically consistent plural form would be *mosinee, but this plural form sees no use in English. In ordinary common usage, moose is treated as an invariant noun, which means its plural is also moose (as with the names of many animals, such as deer and fish, which are also invariant); however, this usage can sometimes be considered stilted when a group of more than one moose are considered individually, in which case avoidance of the plural may be the best option, necessitating the employment of a circumlocution.
- (largest member of the deer family (Alces alces)): elk (British), Newfoundland speed bump (Canadian, humorous)
moose (plural mooses)
- ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
- ^ 1986: Virgil J. Vogel, Indian Names in Michigan, ISBN 0472063650, 9780472063659)
Mosinee Creek in Gogebic County has its name from the plural word for "moose". The name moose is of eastern Algonquian origin and signifies "eater", for the animal's browsing habit.3;
moose (plural mice)