Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Clawfoots or Clawfeet?

A couple of months ago, I posted that I was having trouble coming up with a suitable name for some animals that will appear in Fifth Season, Book Four of the Season Avatars series. These animals are based on dinosaurs; they're smart as velociraptors and physically resemble Deinonychus. My heroine, Ysabel, initially called them "mixups" since they resemble lizards mixed with birds. Since "mixup" isn't exactly a fear-inspiring name, I struggled for a long time to come up with something better. Finally, as I was editing Fifth Season last week, I went back to the description of the beasts and came up with "clawfoot" for the long sickle-shaped claw Deinonychus had on its feet. However, that leaves me with a dilemma: do I use "clawfoots" or "clawfeet" for the plural? While "clawfeet" might be technically correct, to me, the "feet" in this term seem to refer to actual feet, not the entire animal. I prefer "clawfoots" myself, but I'll have to do some research to see if there's a preferred way to handle this plural.

Would you use "clawfoots" or "clawfeet" as the plural? Or should I come up with a new name that avoids these issues?

8 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If clawfoot is the name, clawfoots would be correct. However, clawfeet rolls off the tongue easier.
Your world - your call.

Maria Zannini said...

I think your gut reaction is correct. Clawfoots sounds right to me too.

Pat Dilloway said...

I will also vote for Clawfoots. It reminds me of the Soviet attack plane called the Su-25 Frogfoot by NATO. Would it be a squadron of Frogfoots or a squadron of Frogfeet?

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks for the feedback, everyone! I'll stick with clawfoots for now unless my beta readers object.

Pat Dilloway said...

I asked around and here's an answer I got: Miriam-Webster gives the plural of "bigfoot" as "bigfeet", with an alternative "bigfoots". In actual usage, Google Ngram Viewer shows "bigfeet" to be, by far, the more predominantly used.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks for researching that, Pat! That was thoughtful.

Pat Dilloway said...

Here was someone else's answer: Why not "clawfoot" for both singular and plural? That's a common enough occurrence in English. "Clawfeet" sounds diminutive and, I don't know, a bit silly compared to "clawfoot". Same with "bigfeet" - kinda makes me chuckle.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks for the additional feedback, Pat. Maybe it would be easier to find another term. I guess it depends on what my beta readers say.

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