MooT Question Icon
As a singular, its domain is metaphysics; as a plural, marketing. What word is it?

Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.

A picture of a moot game

The critically-acclaimed board game MooT
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
To join our mailing list and get
free brain-twisting MooT questions sent to you irregularly,
enter your email address and then press submit.

E-Mail address:

Back to home page

Answer: logos

In metaphysics Logos is reason as the controlling principle in the universe. In communications logos (e.g., the Golden Arches) give evidence that branding is the controlling principle in marketing.


Good question. I got it, but came up with another answer because I read the question two ways. Good and goods -- "good" as a matter for ethical debate, "goods" for what marketers sell. It wasn't clear from context whether "singular" and "plural" meant identical spellings of the word.

[Mootguy: Good point. I'll post your response to the site and see if any of the others were getting confused by this.]
gregf at

I agree that it wasn't clear that the words were identically spelled.
markcindyallen at

Didn't get it. I don't think logos as used in marketing is the plural form of the Greek for "word," but a corruption of it. That would be consistent with marketing generally. :)
martindhayes at

Sneaky tough!
jffriesen at

Cute question, but in fact they are different words (despite the identical spelling and common etymology). (And of course, linguists are not in agreement about what constitutes a word.)

Anyways, the singular "logos" is pronounced with an /s/ at the end, whereas the plural "logos" is pronounced with a /z/ at the end. The dictionary entry for the latter word would of course be "logo."

[Mootguy: So I have to say something like What homonyms are they?] [Mootguy: to make the question work. Yuck. The question's a dud. I promise to do better next time.]
jacko at

A logo (i.e. logotype) is not a plural word, just an ordinary noun formed from the first syllable of a compound, and having a regular plural form. My guess was "good" and "goods" respectively. Niels Homvoller, Stockholm, Sweden
nielshovmoller at

I like this definition much better: 1 : the divine wisdom manifest in the creation, government, and redemption of the world and often identified with the second person of the Trinity (Jesus)
bduff at

My response was medium/media--the singular in reference to a metaphysical vehicle for seeing into the netherworld, and the plural (print, tv, film, etc) to denote the various forms by which information is passed.
danimalev at

I thought it was a great question and very fun. The picky comments are all valid and their existence just shows that it's a great question because it makes you think about interesting and important points, not the other way around (that they might show the question was "invalid" in some way).

[Mootguy: Vous avez raison.]
stephen yeh

I came up with "medium" as in spiritualists, and "media" as in the mass media....a weak response, but I too misinterpreted the question.
psurajit at

I also came up with the medium/media answer and was thrown off by the singular/plural confusion
samkambol at

Another variation - I came up with desire and desires. I like good and goods better, though.
sylvano at

I'm with stephen yeh: a GREAT question, specifically because of its ambiguity and multiple issues/pathways. (And yes, I also loved the picky points; otherwise why be a word-nut?) Luckily for me, though, I didn't spend much time on it before peeking! All reward, no strain.
slundgren at

I thought of "good" and "goods," but I like "logos" and "logos"; I don't think the question is a dud at all. Because others thought as I did, I don't feel stupid, but I also got to think about words in a different way. Thanks!
kgrimes at

Copyright 1998-2009 Blair Arts Ltd. All rights reserved.