Correction Question

Orthodox in plural


Can you please tell me if it is possible to say "Orthodoxes" meaning Orthodox people?

I've seen "a Catholic" and "Catholics", but I haven't met the word "Orthodoxes" so far :).

Thank you in advance!


Maybe it's the perspective of languages that grew up in the Latin West, but in the English that I speak "catholic" is seldom used when "universal" is meant, and "Catholic" almost always refers to the Roman Catholic church.

The word "orthodox", however, is used in a lot of contexts, not even related to Orthodox Christianity.

Sentences like "They are Catholic." and "They are Catholics." are both used in normal conversation. Other "familiar" religious group names work this way, too: "They are Lutheran." and "They are Lutherans." "They are Baptist." and "They are Baptists." "They are Buddhist." and "They are Buddhists." "They are Hindu." and "They are Hindus."

So now that I've thought about it little while writing this note, I'm going to guess that we modern English speakers are less inclined to say "They are Orthodoxes.", because 1. we don't talk about or encounter Orthodox church members very often, 2. the Orthodox church isn't a single, uniform, and unified denomination, and 3. the word "orthodox" is a familiar and frequest adjective applied to political views, religious beliefs of all kinds, parenting styles, cooking recipes, basically any kind of belief or opinion.

So, when talking about the Eastern branch(es) of Christianity, we're more likely to continue the adjectival use of "orthodox" and say the Orthodox Church, or the Russian Orthodox Church, or the Greek Orthodox Church, and to stick with that adjectival use in referring to the people as Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, etc. If you do a Google search on "They are Orthodox.", you get quiet a few returns with most of them referring to Orthodox somethings. If you search on "They are Orthodoxes.," you get very few results and none of them formal or academic writing. If you search on "He is an Orthodox", you get very few that end just there; most continue on to say He is an Orthodox Christian or an Orthodox Saint, or an Orthodox priest, or an Orthodox Jew, or an orthodox economist, etc.

If we were having a conversation about religious affiliations, I could imagine hearing someone say any of the four possibilities: She is Orthodox. She is an Orthodox. They are Orthodox. They are Orthodoxes. The last one, though, would be the least likely and, though understandable, the least familiar to my ear, and the Google search produces far fewer results than the other three.



Alice Val Alice Val (2) on 11/10/15

Richard, I'll collect you answers :). Thank you very much for this one!

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