I see the word "strong" refers to a group of army in two contexts:

  • In this post:

    We're now a sub of nearly six hundred thousand strong

    In this context the word "strong" refers to the subscribers of the subreddit.

  • In this game:

    Here we go loading up for a huge strong

    Here the word refers to a group of army about to be dropped to the opponent's base.

But Oxford Dictionaries doesn't count this as a meaning of the word. Is this the case the dictionary hasn't caught up the usage of the word? Can it be used as a noun?

  • 6
    You seem to have overlooked something in your Oxford dictionaries link, namely sense four: "Used after a number to indicate the size of a group. ‘a hostile crowd several thousands strong’"
    – phoog
    Jan 30, 2019 at 19:43
  • At a point prior to the word in question, they are talking about fighting off brute force attacks. In fact, if you go to 38:18 (and look at the closed captioning), what's said is "comes down to fantastic sized storms he might..." It makes more sense that they are continuing to talk about storms but that the word is simply garbled. Feb 3, 2019 at 4:51

9 Answers 9


In your first example, "strong" is an adjective. The writer is not saying that the "sub" is made up of 600,000 "strongs". He's saying that it is strong. How strong? 600,000 strong. It's like saying "Bob is six feet tall" or "The river is 20 miles long." He is attaching a number to an adjective.

I have no idea what the writer in the second example is trying to say. Perhaps he didn't finish the sentence; he meant "loading up for a huge strong ATTACK" or some such. As given, the quote is not grammatically correct and doesn't make sense.

I don't recall ever reading or hearing "strong" used as a noun in a coherent sentence.

  • 21
    Strong can be a nominalized adjective that is used as though it is a noun. Example: "We accept the rich and the poor. We accept the weak and the strong." It truly is an adjective, but works like a noun. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nominalized_adjective Jan 30, 2019 at 17:37
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    @Keeta - You can tell it's still an adjective because it can be modified with adverbs: "We accept the unfortunately weak and the exceptionally strong," or take adjectival suffixes like superlatives: "We accept the weakest and the strongest." Both of these are forbidden for nouns. Jan 30, 2019 at 17:43
  • 2
    @Keeta: The nominalized adjective requires a determiner. The quick and the dead.
    – TimR
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:34
  • 15
    "of 600,000 strong" is incorrect, however. It should be "we are a sub of 600,000," full stop, or else "the sub is 600,000 strong." This incorrect "of 600,000 strong" is becoming more common because the idiom itself is somewhat uncommon.
    – phoog
    Jan 30, 2019 at 19:33
  • 5
    'Strong' can be used as a noun: the strong of a sword, more commonly known by the French term 'forte', is the one third of the blade that's closest to the hilt. That's a very specialised use, however. Jan 30, 2019 at 19:35

Although "strong" may look like a noun in "... a hundred thousand strong", it still acts as an adjective phrase modifying "sub". This idiomatic expression is much the same as any other adjective such as "many" or "large":

The khan's army was large

The khan's army was a hundred thousand strong.

"Strong" does sound like a noun in the second sentence, but if so is probably jargon specific to players of Starcraft. That being said, it's possible the commentator misspoke and meant to say "throng", or that it's a slang abbreviation for "a strong counterattack".

Or (as choster mentions) it could be "drop" -- the video is edited at that point so the word is garbled. That sounds more reasonable for the context.

Otherwise I can think of no common use of "strong" as a noun, although of course you can always make up your own if it fits the context.

  • I can confirm that it is not a jargon in StarCraft at all
    – Ooker
    Jan 30, 2019 at 16:55
  • @Ooker: "jargon" is uncountable.
    – TimR
    Jan 30, 2019 at 17:06
  • The word the commentator uses is unintelligible. tromp ?
    – Mazura
    Jan 30, 2019 at 17:22
  • 4
    @Mazura From my StarCraft experience, I would venture drop.
    – choster
    Jan 30, 2019 at 18:57
  • 1
    @choster it could be "drop". The video is edited at that point so it's garbled.
    – Andrew
    Jan 30, 2019 at 21:55

I'm not able to comment, so I'm putting this in an answer.

In your second source, the caster actually says "loading up for a huge DROP". A drop being a piece of jargon referring to the fact that these units will shortly be dropped into the opponent's base. I can see how if you are primed to hear strong, you might hear strong instead.

  • 1
    @Ooker who wrote the transcript? If this is from YouTube, take it from me that their subtitles are not infallible. I see plenty of mistakes especially if the audio is of a somewhat poor/inferior quality
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 31, 2019 at 12:20
  • 2
    @Ooker, i think what you hear as an s is just the g which is lengthened to show excitement.
    – Carsten S
    Jan 31, 2019 at 17:47
  • 1
    @Ooker As stated previously, both commentators go on to clearly use the word "drop" multiple times in the following 30 seconds or so. Given that "strong" makes no sense here but "drop" does, it's difficult to justify your hard-line position on this. Feb 1, 2019 at 3:17
  • 1
    @Ooker FWIW I just listened to it again on a different system - cheap tablet speakers instead of headphones - and I do get a hint of an /s/ there but as Carsten says, it's early enough that it's more properly a slurred g (almost an /sh/) in "huge" Feb 1, 2019 at 3:23
  • 1
    @GalacticCowboy it seems that it is actually "huge drop". The "huge" is stressed so /g/ combines with /d/ to become an /s/. Meanwhile, "drop" is spoken fleetingly, so maybe the /p/ sound is swallowed.
    – Ooker
    Feb 1, 2019 at 3:59

In the first example, "of six hundred thousand strong" is incorrect. It should be

We're now a sub of nearly six hundred thousand.

It could also be

We're now a sub that is nearly six hundred thousand strong

The construction "of 600,000 strong" is becoming more common because the idiom itself is somewhat uncommon, but it is not the traditional form of this expression.

I also note that you seem to have overlooked something in your Oxford dictionaries link, namely sense four:

Used after a number to indicate the size of a group.

‘a hostile crowd several thousands strong’

  • You're right, I was just looking for the noun section of the word, and not really for it carefully.
    – Ooker
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:22

Just as in "ten foot tall" the word tall means "in height", and in the phrase "six feet deep" the word deep means "in depth", in the phrase "an army ten-thousand strong" the word strong means "in strength".

Strong is misused in your second example.

  • should it be "ten-thousand people strong"? Btw, why do we have "ten foot tall" but "six feet deep"?
    – Ooker
    Jan 30, 2019 at 16:57
  • It can also be "six foot deep".
    – TimR
    Jan 30, 2019 at 17:04
  • 1
    @Ooker "We" are obviously "people" so there is no need to say something obvious by repeating the word in "10,000 people strong".
    – alephzero
    Jan 30, 2019 at 17:14
  • 3
    I think there is a difference in usage between between "foot" and "feet" at least in British English. In a phrase linked to what it described by the verb "to be," feet is more common than foot - i.e. "The wall was ten feet tall" not "ten foot tall". But if the phrase is acting like an adjective preceding a noun, foot sounds right and feet sounds wrong - "The garden was surrounded by a ten foot [high] wall" not "a ten feet wall". The reason might be that "The garden" is singular, but "feet" is plural and therefore sets the reader off in the wrong direction to understand the whole sentence.
    – alephzero
    Jan 30, 2019 at 17:20
  • 1
    @alephzero As an American, I can say that I've heard "a ten foot wall" very often and would consider it correct.
    – user45266
    Jan 31, 2019 at 4:28


It is common for the two halves of the length of a sword's blade to be described as the 'forte' and the 'foible', or the 'strong' and the 'weak'. When parrying, the strong of your own blade should be used against the opponent's weak.

Fencers of all stripes will as happily refer to a sword's 'forte' or 'strong' as an actual thing as they would it's grip or guard. (Grip and guard, interestingly, being both nouns and verbs.)

Use of the English or not depends on whether the individual prefers their turn of phrase at that moment to be functional or flowery. But, yes - if grip, guard, or pommel can be a noun then so can strong.


In the second example, it seems that it is actually "huge drop". The "huge" is stressed so /g/ combines with /d/ to become an /s/. Meanwhile, "drop" is spoken fleetingly, so maybe the /p/ sound is swallowed.

Just my guess.


Yes, it can be used as a noun, but not in the examples you give.

In instances like "the strong eat the weak" or "only the strong survive" it is a nominalized adjective. As wikipedia notes, this is "an adjective that has undergone nominalization, and is thus used as a noun." Nominalized adjectives are commonly used to indicate a specific group of people, such as the rich, the poor, the weak, or the strong.

The entry for nominalization explains a bit about the process and includes more examples if you'd like further reading.


It seems like everyone kind of beat this to the ground.

If you can put 'the' in front of a word, it is a NOUN.

If you can say that he/she/it is ___. Then it is an ADJECTIVE.

  • "The bold and the beautiful" Are they nouns or adjectives or both? Have you ever watched the "The bold and the beautiful"? Is "The" a noun then?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 31, 2019 at 12:07
  • In this case, Bold and Beautiful are used as nouns. 'The' is an article, not a noun.
    – James
    Jan 31, 2019 at 13:05
  • I'm just saying to be careful about stating things as absolute truths. Add "normally" and no one will mutter a word.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 31, 2019 at 13:16

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