What is the plural of octopus?

Since we moved out to the Boston area in 2005… …Well, that’s as far as I got last Tuesday while writing a piece titled “Chasing R’s.” It was/is/will be a commentary on the Boston accent, or rather my attempt at translating words and conversations.

Last Tuesday's writing:

"Up at 5:00 a.m., I was sure this would happen: two hours of writer’s flow. However, Liam and his new octopus plush have now joined me in the living room. And, now the _Octonauts_ show is on TV. He’s taken a keen interest in octopuses/octopi/octopodes since a week of summer camp where the kids were encouraged to do in-depth research on any topic they chose. Hence my knowledge of the three acceptable plural forms of octopus.

Octopuses are boneless so can scoot through very small holes. I’m told their favorite snacks are crabs. They have nine brains: one in each tentacle and one in their head. If a tentacle gets cut off it grows back. Brain and all!

The appeal of octopuses to Liam: they are very sneaky and very smart. They are near the top of the food chain because of their intelligence and their defense mechanisms. They leave enemies in a black cloud of ink or they blend into the background.

The giant Pacific octopus is Liam’s favorite because it has the biggest brain. He also likes the coconut octopus because it’s the smartest and it uses tools, and they can run with two legs on the ocean floor. One octopus can walk on land and it makes a gooey, slurpy sound as it moves across land.   Thanks BBC for the sight and sounds of this phenomenon! 

It’s only 6:00 a.m., and Liam and I just wrote his journal entry for the week."

And from there, I spent a half hour youtubing octopi: one scuttling across the ocean floor like a cartoon creature and another carrying a big shell as he ran, then setting it down, crawling inside, and pulling the lid over the top of him to hide.

I now better understand Liam’s fascination with these slug-related creatures.