Whats the Plural of Colloquium: A Concise Guide to Academic Terms

  • Both colloquia and colloquiums are acceptable plurals for colloquium.
  • Colloquia follows the original Latin, while colloquiums adapts to English pluralization rules.
  • The choice between colloquia and colloquiums depends on context and audience preference.

While colloquia retain the classical Latin ending, colloquiums follow the regular English convention of adding an “s” to form the plural. This dual possibility often invites questions about which form is more appropriate to use. In turn, this has implications not only for grammarians and educators but also for students and professionals who encounter these terms in various scholarly activities and texts.

What’s the Plural of Colloquium?

Plural Form Options:

Standard PluralClassical Plural

Usage in Academic Writing:

  • Colloquiums may be more common in less formal or modern contexts.
  • Colloquia has a more formal tone, likely to be found in academic papers and discussions.

Here’s a simplified breakdown using these forms in a sentence:

Singular UsagePlural Usage Using “Colloquiums”Plural Usage Using “Colloquia”
She is attending a colloquium on biologyShe is attending two colloquiums today.She is attending several colloquia this week.

Colloquium: Definition and Meaning

Colloquium is a term that originates from the Latin word “colloquium”, which denotes a conversation or dialogue. It refers to an academic gathering or conference where experts and scholars convene to discuss a topic intensively. This intellectual exchange is typically structured with presentations followed by question-and-answer sessions, allowing for in-depth exploration of the subject matter.

To understand its application, consider the following details illustrated in a tabular format:

FrequencyColloquiums can occur regularly, such as weekly, or be one-off events.
ParticipantsUsually comprised of subject matter experts, researchers, and students.
PresentationInvolves lectures, papers, or findings by one or more speakers.
InteractionFeatures dialogue, debate, and audience engagement.

When referring to more than one colloquium, it’s important to know the correct plural form. Colloquiums are referenced in two acceptable ways:

  • Colloquiums: This anglicized version keeps the subject accessible to a broader audience.
  • Colloquia: Retaining its Latin roots, this form is also widely used, particularly in formal academic circles.
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Other Latin Nouns

Example Latin Nouns and Their Plurals

SingularPluralEnglish Equivalent
curriculumcurriculaCurriculums or curricula
datumdataData (often treated as singular in English)
forumforaForums or fora
bacteriumbacteriaBacteria (usually regarded as plural in English)

Neuter Nouns Ending in -ium

  • auditorium: auditoria or auditoriums
  • gymnasium: gymnasia or gymnasiums
  • stadium: stadia or stadiums

Common -us to -i Pluralization

Moreover, Latin words ending in -us commonly change to -i for their plural forms. These are typically masculine nouns.

  • alumnus: alumni
  • focus: foci
  • radius: radii

In the transformation from Latin to English, the application and acceptance of these plurals vary. Some words retain their Latin plurals, while others adopt a more English conventional ending.

For example, the word “radius” is often pluralized as “radii” in technical contexts but can also be found as “radiuses” in everyday speech. The choice of plural form can depend on context, formality, and convention.

Examples of Colloquium in Sentences

Singular Usage:

  • She attended a colloquium on medieval literature.
  • The colloquium featured several notable physicists.
  • A colloquium will be held at the university next week.

Plural Usage:

  • The department has scheduled two colloquia for the spring semester.
  • He has participated in multiple colloquia this year.

The word “colloquium” has a couple of correct plural forms. Let’s illustrate both in a table format:


In these examples, “colloquia” represents the traditional Latin pluralization, while “colloquiums” follows the modern English convention of adding an -s or -es to form plurals.

  • Academic conferences: Colloquia are commonly organized within university settings.
  • Research presentations: Scholars often share findings in scientific colloquia.
  • Industry meetings: Professionals sometimes refer to industry-specific gatherings as colloquia.
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Examples of Colloquia/Colloquiums in Application

Colloquia in Academia

Research ColloquiumA gathering where researchers present findings and advance new theories.
Graduate ColloquiumSessions organized for graduate students to discuss their research with peers and faculty.
Faculty ColloquiumExclusive meetings where faculty members share recent developments in their fields.

Colloquiums in Professional Fields

  • Legal Colloquium: Workshops where legal practitioners discuss changes in law and precedents.
  • Medical Colloquium: Conferences focusing on medical advancements and patient care strategies.
  • Business Colloquium: Meetings where industry leaders address market trends, innovation, and management practices.

Synonyms for Colloquium

Below are some synonyms for “colloquium” which might be used interchangeably in various contexts:

Table 1: Synonyms related to formal gatherings

Formality LevelSynonym
More FormalSymposium
Less FormalWorkshop

Each of these alternatives carries subtle differences, which might be relevant depending on the structure and intent behind the event being described. For instance, a symposium typically involves a more formal presentation of ideas, often with critical discussions following scholarly papers. Conversely, a workshop is generally more interactive and instructional.

Table 2: Synonyms with a conversational tone

Informality LevelSynonym
More InformalForum
Informal GatheringPanel
General TermCongress

Using terms such as forum or panel can suggest a conversational format, with opportunities for dialogue and audience participation. In many professional settings, the term congress denotes a large, formal gathering of individuals, typically representing various organizations.

Here are synonyms listed in order of decreasing formality:

  • Symposium
  • Seminar
  • Workshop
  • Forum
  • Roundtable

Origin of the Word Colloquium

Colloquium is a term that might seem relatively specialized in modern English, but it has its roots in the common language of ancient Rome. The word comes from Latin, specifically from the word “colloquium,” which denotes a “speaking together” or conversation.

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EtymologyDerived from Latin
RootsCom- (together) + loqui (speak)

In the evolution of colloquium, com- represents the notion of togetherness while -loqui implies speaking. This combination captures the essence of the word: a gathering for discussion.

  • com-: With, together
  • loqui: To speak

It’s fascinating to note that colloquium used to convey the idea of a dialogue or a conversation, a usage that has since become obsolete. Over time, the term gained a more formal connotation, referring to an academic conference or seminar where experts discuss a specific topic, often with significant question-and-answer sessions.

Historical UsageDescription
Original MeaningConversation or dialogue
Contemporary UseAcademic conference or seminar

Such an evolution in meaning reflects how language adapts to the changing contexts of communication. The term remains closely related to its linguistic relative, “colloquy,” although “colloquium” now invariably refers to formal gatherings, diverging from its roots in casual conversation.


  1. Definition of colloquium.
  2. Sentences using colloquium.
  3. Origin of colloquium.

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