Meat loaf or meat loaves

Hi, Howard! Smile

I think, technically speaking, it really should be meat loaves.

But I also think it would sound very natural to say I make three different kinds of meat loaf every weekend.

By the way . . .

First, I want all three recipes, thank you, and second, with all that meat loaf every weekend, aren't you going to invite the members of the Grammar Exchange over for dinner? Wink
The New York Times has only three examples of ‘meat loafs.’ Here are two:

• And meat loaf -- I've known meat loafs that have held otherwise fragmenting families together for ... Instead, I make three meat loafs and slice them up. ...

• ... which opened in 1982 at 424 Amsterdam Avenue (80th Street) and specializes in homey fare such as soups, stews, muffins and meat loafs. ...

But it agrees with Richard, and has 193 examples of ‘meat loaves,’ like these:

• …and meat loaves are not for the unsophisticated alone. ... Three recipes for distinguished meat loaves are listed on this page. ...

• In recent years, I have been making all sorts of meat loaves and patties with various combinations of veal, beef and turkey. The recipe below has many ...


This would be enough for me to think ‘meat loaves,’ except for this passage in The Language Instinct*, by Steven Pinker, a respected and famous linguist. The Grammar Exchange has this thread on plurals which do not follow the usual form for irregular usage:

Pinker notes ‘Toronto Maple Leafs’ and ‘low-lifes’ as plurals, which makes me think that the plural of ‘meat loaf’ would be ‘meat loafs.’

Anyway, I think this is yet another phrase which can have differing plural forms, either meat loafs or meat loaves.
_______ *The Language Instinct, How the Mind Creates Language, by Steven Pinker.William Morrow and Company. 1994

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