The plural of Nexus is Nexūs, in case you cared (which you almost certainly don’t)

Raymond Chen

Nexus is a trusted traveler program operated jointly by the United States and Canada, and in casual conversation, the word Nexus is often used to refer to the Nexus card itself.

One of my college classmates visited relatives who lived in a state along the Canada/US border, and they made a road trip to Canada. Everybody in the car was a member of the Nexus program except for my classmate. During the conversation, he had need to pluralize the term Nexus, which raised the question: What is the plural of Nexus? Is it second declension: Nexī? Or third declension: Nexera?

Note that this is a question that is raised only by Latin and grammar nerds.

Let’s hear it for the Latin and grammar nerds!

Unlike many Latin-sounding brand names, nexus is an actual Latin word, meaning “binding together”. And it is fourth declension: The plural is nexūs, pronounced as “nexoos”. (At least, that’s what I gathered from the Latin nerds.)

The Nexus program is an outlier in the cost/benefit graph of United States Trusted Traveler programs.

Faster land entry
from Mexico
Faster land entry
from Canada
• Nexus
Faster air entry • Global Entry
Faster airport
• TSA Pre✓
  0 50 100 150
  Cost (USD) for five years
(as of 2018)

The listed benefits are cumulative as you go up the y-axis, and the prices along the x-axis increase as the benefits increase, except for Nexus, which grants more benefits than Global Entry despite costing less than even TSA Pre✓. Furthermore, Nexus has no application fee for those under age 18.

Nexus is clearly the sweet spot in the graph. Why? I’m not sure, but I’m not complaining.

The complications for Nexus are that the approval process takes longer, since you need to pass background checks by both United States and Canadian authorities, and interview locations are available only near the Canada/US border. But if you are okay with those constraints, the choice is pretty clear.

When my family travels across the Canada/US border in the Nexus lane, we play a game: As we approach the border, we pick a vehicle in the general lanes, and we see if our car can clear the border before the other vehicle does.

We have yet to lose. Even if we pick a car that is only a few lengths from the border as we approach, we still end up winning.

In one of the early instances of this game, after the border officer cleared us to enter, my young daughter exclaimed, “We did it!” That strikes me as a rather suspicious thing to say immediately after a border officer lets you across. I had to caution my kids not to get too excited about winning the game.

¹ The total benefits are not strictly cumulative, however. Most of the Trusted Traveler programs are operated solely by the United States, but Nexus is jointly operated with Canada, which means that you get Canadian benefits, too: faster land, sea, and air entry into Canada. But that just makes the sweet spot even sweeter, especially if you take advantage of school calendar misalignment and fly in and out of Canada for vacation.


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