Cabooses, not cabeese

Ask Trains from the June 2015 issue
RELATED TOPICS: FREIGHT EQUIPMENT
TRNAT0515_01
Volunteers at the Whitewater Valley Railroad in Connersville, Ind., prepare a string of cabooses (not cabeese) for an excursion in December 2013.
Steve Sweeney
Q If the plural of “goose” is “geese,” then is the plural of “caboose,” “cabeese?” What is the proper plural form of “caboose?” – William James, Manchester, N.H.

A Our collected evidence indicates that “caboose” takes a standard -s plural. The word caboose is a “count noun” and takes a normal count plural. For example: “To streamline operations, the railroads would like to permanently uncouple these little lookout cars from freight trains. ‘Cabooses are dead weight,’ says a vice president of a Western railroad. ‘They are inefficient and belong to a different era.’” John D. Williams, Wall Street Journal, March 18, 1982. “A Burlington Northern freight passes, and Brian calls my attention to the rear-end device that has replaced the cabooses.” Terry Pindell, “Making Tracks: An American Rail Odyssey,” 1990. – Neil S. Serven, associate editor, Merriam-Webster Inc.
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