Dice or Die – What’s the Difference?

Casinos and family game nights have one thing in common: they often involve dice.

Most people are familiar with these six-sided objects. They have a number on each side, and they are part of many betting games and board games.

When you have more than one of these cubes, are they dice or die?

Many English speakers use die as a plural noun. Interestingly, though, the opposite is true: die is singular, and dice is plural. Continue reading to learn more about this potentially confusing noun in all its forms.

What is the Difference Between Dice and Die?

In this post, I will compare die vs. dice. I will use each word in at least one example sentence, which will give you an idea of how they should look in context.

Plus, I will show you a memory tool that helps make choosing die or dice a little easier.

When to Use Die

dice versus dieWhat does die mean? The word die has many meanings, one of which is a verb that means to stop living. In this article, though, I will focus on the meaning of die that refers to a small cube with a number on each side used for gambling.

In this sense, it is a noun. Some tabletop games use a larger 12-sided die for even more variability.

Here are some example sentences,

  • The die has been cast: there is no way to change the sequence of events that you have set in motion by your recklessness.
  • I wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons with my friend, but I lost the die.

When to Use Dice

definition of dice definition of die definitionWhat does dice mean? Dice is a plural noun. It refers to more than one small cube with a number on each side used for gambling. Many games use dice: Yahtzee uses five dice, while Monopoly uses two.

Dice is the plural form of die: some games use two dice, but Clue only uses one die.

Here are some example sentences,

  • Kenley rolled the dice so hard that they flew off the table and got lost under the sofa.
  • Shawn has lost so much money on dice games that it’s surprising he still goes to the casino.
  • A roll of the dice has decided who will be the next Mayor of a South Dakota town. –New York Daily News

Many writers confuse dice and die, thinking that dice is the singular form and die the plural. As common as this usage may be in informal spoken English, there is widespread agreement between dictionaries and other language authorities that die is singular, and dice is plural.

Trick to Remember the Difference

die dice singular pluralIt might be surprising to learn that die is singular and dice is plural, but it is true.

  • A die is one cube.
  • Dice are two or more cubes.

Since dice rhymes with the plural noun mice, use this rhyme as a reminder that dice is the plural form of die, not the other way around.

Summary

Is it dice or die? The noun die refers to a cube with numbers on each side used for gambling.

  • Dice is the plural form of this noun, despite common misconceptions.
  • You should never switch these two words in formal writing contexts.