What is the Plural Of Dice?

One die, one dice, two dice? Let’s discover what the plural of dice is.

Confused about the plural of dice? You’re not on your own. The word dice stems from Middle English, and it’s an irregular plural noun, meaning it doesn’t follow a standard pattern of pluralization.

In fact, both singular and plural forms of the word dice are the same in modern standard English. However, that wasn’t always the case. In this article, we’ll review the etymology of the word dice and demonstrate how to use it correctly. 

We will also give you some other examples of irregular plural nouns that you may be unfamiliar with.

While here, check out our article featuring common grammar mistakes to avoid in your writing.

Now, let’s dive in.

What Does Dice Mean?

Plural of dice
As a countable noun, the word dice refers to a small cube that features a different number of spots

In order to get into the nitty gritty of English grammar, let’s first establish the definition of dice. 

The word dice is a noun, and it can be both countable and uncountable. As a countable noun, the word dice refers to a small cube that features a different number of spots (between one and six spots) on its sides. 

  • The game of backgammon is played with two dice. Other games are played with three, four or even five dice.

As an uncountable noun, the word dice is used to refer to the name of the game, dice.

  • Would you like to have a game of dice with me?

Singular And Plural Forms Of The Word Dice

As we have shown, the word dice is both countable and uncountable, depending on the meaning. In terms of the latter, you don’t need to worry about the grammatical number. But in the case of countable nouns, is dice plural or a singular form of the word?

The answer is both – but it’s not that simple. And to get to the bottom of the things, let’s look at the etymology of the word.

Etymology Of Dice

The word dice comes from Middle English dys, which is the plural of dy, and it was first used in the 14th century. Alternatively spelled dee, this Middle English word stems from Old French de, which possibly originates from the Latin datum, meaning “a fact given.” 

Over time, the spelling changed ever so slightly. In Modern English, it’s spelled with I instead of Y, so the word dy became die, and dys became dice. One thing that’s apparent is that the word dice is not a regular noun, pluralized by adding an -s at the end of the word.

This is because we’re talking about an irregular plural noun, which is common for words that are derived from Old and Middle English. 

Irregular Plural Nouns and Umlauts

There are numerous irregular plural nouns in English. Irregular plural nouns are nouns that cannot be pluralized merely by adding an -s. Instead, they are pluralised by exchanging vowels or adding an alternative suffix such as -es, -oes, or -ves. 

When vowels in a word are exchanged to create a plural, we call it an umlaut. It is the modification of a form or sound or a mark over a vowel, such as (¨), to indicate a different quality.

Let’s take the word foot as an example. In plural form, this word doesn’t become foots, but feet.

In other examples, we may add or replace a suffix, and some nouns retain their plural form from Latin or other languages.


There are even a few nouns which remain unchanged in their plural form, such as:


There are some rules governing irregular nouns when it comes to puralization; however, others have no pattern and just need to be learned.

Modern Usage of The Word

Both singular and plural forms of the word were in use in Middle English. However, today, the singular form die is practically obsolete and is replaced by the plural form of the word. This is true for all variants of the language, from British to American English.

I say practically obsolete because you will most surely find the word die in the Merriam-Webster or Oxford dictionary, and it will be presented as the singular form of dice. Still, many writing styles and guides prefer to use dice when referring to both single and multiple cubes. 

Technically, the singular noun isn’t incorrect but outdated. Plus, you’re risking being misunderstood, given that the word die means several things in English.

With that being said, the original singular die is very much alive in a more casual setting – board games. The reason for this is probably purely practical, as it avoids misunderstandings in a game.

How to Use The Word Dice in a Sentence

The fact that you’re using the same word for both singular and plural forms may sound confusing in theory. But the context of the sentence should give you a clear idea of whether it refers to a single cube or a multitude of them. Let’s look at some example sentences.

  • The chance of the dice landing on a 6 seems impossible to me.
  • John gambled everything he owned on the last throw of the dice.

As you can see, neither of the two sentences particularly mentions how many dice are involved. But from the context, we can assume it’s a singular form of dice. Here are some more examples of dice in a sentence:

  • We stayed up all night playing dice.
  • We need all six dice to play this game.

In the first sentence, it’s clear that it refers to the game dice, which is an uncountable noun. As for the second sentence, the number of the dice is clearly stated, indicating a countable noun in plural form.

Check out our list of root words for more fascinating linguistic etymology.