Thinking about Prii prompted me to look at what Garner’s Modern American Usage has to say about the plural forms of borrowed words. From a longer discussion:
Many writers who try to be sophisticated in their use of language make mistakes such as *ignorami and *octopi — unaware that neither is a Latin noun that, when inflected as a plural, becomes -i. The proper plural of the Greek word octopus is octopodes; the proper English plural is octopuses.Garner’s guideline: “if in doubt, use the native-English plural ending in -s.”
Those who affect this sort of sophistication may face embarrassing stumbles — e.g., “A ‘big city’ paper with an editor as eminently qualified as I’m sure you are should know that the plural of campus is *campi (not campuses). Just like the plural of virus is *viri (not viruses), and the plural of stadium is *stadia (not stadiums).” Letter to the Editor, Dallas Morning News, 22 Sept. 2002, at J3 (name withheld for obvious reasons).
One complication with the Toyota Prius: unlike, say, campus, prius is a Latin adjective and adverb, not a noun. And Prius is not a Latin word; it’s the name of a car. Priuses makes better sense to the eye and ear, at least to my eye and ear. And to my other eye and ear.
My least-favorite sophisticated plural might be fora for forums. Yours?
[The Garner asterisk: “Invariably inferior words and phrases are marked with an asterisk.”]