When you hear the word die, you likely think of death. However, pair it with the word dice and you associate die with this staple of casinos and card tables everywhere. But when should you use die or dice and in what context?
Die vs. Dice: Don't Chance the Difference
The Difference Between Die and Dice
Die and dice are similar-looking words for the same object. The only difference is that die is singular and dice is plural. Therefore, when you roll the dice, you are rolling two or more cubes. If you roll the die, you are using only one piece.
die (singular form) - six-sided cube with dots on each side that correspond to the numbers 1-6
dice (plural form) - six-sided cube with dots on each side that correspond to the numbers 1-6
However, according to the Oxford Dictionary, dice can be used as a singular and plural form of die. So while the standard is usually agreed to be that die is singular and dice is plural, there are disagreements and exceptions to this rule. Six-sided cubes are the standard form for dice, but you can find dice in other shapes with various numbers or symbols on each side for specific games.
Origins and Uses of Die
The word die is derived from the French word des, which is the plural form for the six-sided cube. The singular form in French is dé.
The die was black and white.
The die rolled under the table.
We opened the board game to find that the die was missing.
How to Use Dice in a Sentence
The plural form of die is dice. It can be used in many of the same contexts as die but refers to more than one.
He rolled the dice and landed on three and six.
He bought two new dice for the game.
Each player was given their own dice.
Expressions and Idioms Using Die and Dice
There are several common expressions and idioms that mention die or dice.
the die is/was cast - an action taken that cannot be changed or reversed
roll of the dice - something with an unpredictable outcome, whether good or bad
no dice - to refuse to do something