Plural of Spectrum

What is the plural of the word spectrum? Is it spectrums? Or spectra?

According to both Webster’s and American Heritage Dictionaries, “spectra” is listed first, followed by “or spectrums,” which means they are equal variants and either can be used.

The Latin plural, spectra, is more commonly used in scientific writing, so I prefer that.

Here are a few other Latin words that end with –um whose plurals end with –a:
Datum => data
Maximum => maxima
Minimum => minima

The adjective form of the word is “spectral,” as in spectral decomposition. This is a method of utilizing seismic data and the discrete Fourier transform (DFT) for imaging and mapping temporal bed thickness and geological discontinuities over large 3D seismic surveys.

Profound Quote of the Day:
“Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”
– Plato, Greek philosopher, 427-347 BC


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