Joel provides the example:

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jul 6 19:35:02 UTC 2008

"... six _Pieces of_ Cannon ..."

from 1734.

For years, I've had a vague memory that, when I was a young'un,
"cannon," like "sheep" and a few other, random words, had no plural
that was expressed in spelling or pronunciation. However, I've been
seeing and hearing "cannons" for dekkids, with no counterexamples,
with the consequence that I was beginning to, almost unbelievably, in
my case, doubt my memory.

Of course, we were taught, "six cannon," and not "six _pieces_" thereof.

However, among the better class of bridge-players, "six pieces of
club," for example, is preferred to the more mundane "six clubs," when
speaking of one's holdings. I first heard the long form spoken by a
West Indian, leading me to regard this erroneously as a foreignism.
Later, I had occasion to hear the jargon of bridge as used by the
better class of players, allowing me to correct my initial

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
 -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society -

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