The singular of dice

When I was a boy, the word dice was used in the singular. I had a book of magic tricks that emphasized that “die” was the proper singular, but nobody talked that way, so it sounded totally weird. I never, ever heard anyone use the word—until I came upon Dungeons and Dragons when I was in eighth grade or so.

In the decades since then, the word die has been completely re-normalized. In fact, I had almost forgotten that “dice” used to be universally used as singular as well as plural until coming upon this very funny fashion article about Fran Lebowitz, which is not about dice, but in which she uses the word in the singular, and I was “Oh, yeah. Everybody used to talk like that. People my age who never played Dungeons and Dragons probably still do.”

my dice box
My dice box

 

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