If the opinions of nearly two millions voters interested car names count, which apparently they do for Toyota, the proper plural word for automaker’s popular Prius hybrid is Prii. And it’s correctly pronounced PRE-EYE.
Toyota allowed the public to decide the answer to grammatically puzzling question when it launched its “Prius goes plural” ad campaign earlier this year at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Japanese manufacturer reported 25 percent of the more than 1.8 million votes cast selected Prii. Finishing second was Prius with 24 percent, followed by Priuses (20 percent), Prien (18 percent) and Prium (13 percent).
The word Prius means “beforehand” in Latin, and it’s not supposed to be pluralized. But linguistics experts report the technically correct answer is “Priora” or “Priores.”
Toyota, which is soon expected to sub-brand the Prius line-up separately from Toyota, will soon have several Prius models in its lineup — Prius V crossover hybrid, Prius plug-in hybrid and Prius C concept.
Article Last Updated: February 22, 2011.
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A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.