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In the last days I have come across the question:

What is the singular of 'Ferien'?

Plural: die 'Ferien'

But what is the singular?

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There is none, it's a plural word. If you want to talk about a single holiday, as it were, you'd use Ferientag or Urlaubstag. Very often people will say that they are taking a day off (nehmen sich einen Tag Urlaub) or using some comp time (Zeitausgleich nehmen).

The word directly derives from the Latin "feriae", which already was a plural-only word.

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  • This is a case of a collaborative answer, which is not provided for by StackExchange. I think it would be more correct if Ingmar and @Carlster shared my +1. – Walter Tross Aug 18 '14 at 1:37
  • I don't really care all that much for the +1, honestly, but if Carlster would have wanted that point so badly I'm sure he would have provided an answer himself. That said, it was actually provided by a commenter, if memory serves, and he merely added that comment to my answer. It's all good as far as I'm concerned. – Ingmar Aug 18 '14 at 3:19
  • Thanks for the kudos, @Walter, but I think guidot and I are all good :) – user6191 Aug 18 '14 at 11:34
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In every language there are nouns that have only a plural form, but no singular. In German for instance Leute, Kosten, Ferien. The grammar term for such plural nouns is Latin Pluraletantum, which means " plural only". de.wikipedia has more information:

http://de.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pluraletantum

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