Do the Latin have the cognate verb/noun for the adjectives maximus, magnus?

something resembling the following:

rex rego;
vox voco;
nox ?nego?;
lux luceo

  • Just to clarify, are you looking for a verb meaning "to be great" or something along those lines?
    – Draconis
    May 1, 2019 at 17:49
  • @Draconis "to be great" or "have the might" May 1, 2019 at 17:53
  • 3
    I don't believe there is such a verb. But there is the noun magnitudo "magnitude, greatness". You say "the" cognate verb/noun: why? Or do you mean any cognate verb or noun?
    – Cerberus
    May 1, 2019 at 18:02
  • @Cerberus The Russian language has the verb мочь (moch) "can" which cognates whith the english might and the german Macht "power". The Russian language also has the verb мочиться (mochit'sya) "to piss", where the ить (it') is a verb ending and the ся (sya) is a postfix. The latin language has the verb mingo, which also means "to urinate". May 1, 2019 at 18:15
  • In addition to @Cerberus magnitudo, there is also magnificare which means "to proclaim the greatness of" and is the incipit of the song Magnificat. If used in the passive, it might do what you want.
    – Figulus
    Jun 10, 2021 at 20:58

3 Answers 3


Synchronic view aside, going back to Proto-Indo-European, the etyma of rēx, vōx, and lūx are all root nouns: *h₃rḗǵ-s, *wṓkʷ-s, and *lewk-s. There are actually three different things going on with their corresponding verbs:

  1. rego is from a "normal" thematic verb of PIE age that's built on the same root as *h₃rḗǵ-s: *h₃réǵ-e-ti.
  2. voco is a denominal built on the noun *wṓkʷ-s or vōx. It's probably impossible to determine how old it is; it could have been coined at any point from PIE to its first attestation in Latin. The fact that it's a denominal is why it preserves the o-grade of the noun.
  3. lūceō is a thematic stative built on the same root as *lewk-s, though with an unexpected full-grade that may be analogical with the noun or an old causative (possibly attested in Plautus): *lewk-éh₁-ye-ti.

The different provenance of these verbs is evident in the fact that they all belong to different declensions.

(Negō, for its part, is a combination of ne and aiō < Proto-Italic *agjō < PIE *h₂ǵ-yé-ti at some point in their history. It's not related to nox < *nógʷʰ-t-s.)

Magnus is not a root noun (depending on your terminology it's not a noun at all, though in PIE linguistics 'noun' usually includes both substantives and adjectives and you did have "root adjectives")—it reflects PIE *m̥ǵ-nó-s, with a thematic nasal suffix. Apparently there's a Hittite verb maknu- 'to multiply' that shows the same stem and another one makkešš- 'to become numerous' that has the same root, but otherwise the root *meǵ(h₂)- almost exclusively seems to produce adjectives everywhere, including in Latin.
The expected verbs corresponding to our three types would be ˣmegō (inf. ˣmegere), ˣmagnō (inf. ˣmagnare; probably the one you were expecting), and ˣingeō (inf. ˣingēre), respectively—none of these exists.

  • I know nobody was waiting for this answer but I wanted to write it.
    – Cairnarvon
    Jun 8, 2021 at 23:29
  • 1
    I for one am glad that you did. Your hypothetical verb ingeō would seem to suggest that the adjective ingens may not only share meaning with magnus but also be etymologically related to it. Or do you think that's a linguistic coincidence? (I note that OLD gives the etymology of ingens as dubious.)
    – cnread
    Jun 9, 2021 at 4:05
  • 1
    @cnread That's also what De Vaan says, yeah, and I think it's convincing. (The derivation here, if it's not clear, is that the syllabic *m̥ of *m̥ǵ- in the zero-grade becomes *em, then the *m assimilates to the following *g < , and finally *e raises to i before the resulting [ŋ]. This doesn't happen in *m̥ǵ-nó-s itself because Schrijver's rule *RDC- > RaDC- takes priority.)
    – Cairnarvon
    Jun 9, 2021 at 7:36

So, from what I learned in Latin III (gratas magistrae Donnettae ago), magnus was one of those adjectives with irregular comparative and superlative forms (e.g: bonus [good], melior [better], optimus [best]). In this case we have magnus (great/large) in the positive, maior (greater/larger) in the comparative, and maximus (greatest/largest) in the superlative. So maximus is the superlative of magnus.
Moreover, adjectives can be used as substantives, meaning they totally replace the noun they modify, but they are still adjectives first. Because of that, I do not believe that those words would qualify under that category of noun/verb cognate, in that those are adjectives, not nouns (unless when used in the manner aforementioned or as a proper name).

That said, however, when researching Latin-dictionary.net (my go-to source), there appear to be a couple verbs which appear to have magnus as their root:

  • magnufico, magnuficare
  • magnifico, magnificare

both mean "praise, extol" and "to esteem greatly." There are also a host of other adjectives as well as nouns and adverbs that also use magnus or maximus as their root, and would, therefore, be cognates of magnus or maximus. I hope that answers your question.


I am not aware of a Latin verb that goes together with magnus the way albeo and rubeo go with albus and ruber, respectively. The words magnus, maximus, and magis are unsurprisingly related, and the only surprising related word that comes to mind is magister. I am not sure if I understand the question correctly, but this is the closest to an answer that seems possible to me.

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