I saw that "donec" might mean: "as long as", but it also can mean "till". In a sense those are opposing meanings. let's consider this example:

I'm happy as long as there is daylight outside
I'm happy until there is daylight outside

Should we rely only on context (which indeed should be quite obvious), or there is a grammatical issue that makes only one of the options valid each time?

  • 2
    Another word with a similar problem is fere, which, like English 'quite,' can mean almost but not quite, or it can mean quite sure, and no argument.
    – Hugh
    May 15 '19 at 23:42
  • @Hugh, interesting! thanks for that input.
    – d_e
    May 16 '19 at 16:45
  • 1
    Funnily enough while has both these meanings in the local variety of English where I live.
    – Colin Fine
    May 16 '19 at 17:32
  • for the sake of the record, is seem another word is recingo
    – d_e
    Jun 24 '20 at 19:20
  • 1
    The technical term for these is auto-antonym.
    – cmw
    Sep 16 at 1:46

Donec denotes the relationship between two actions, at the same time e.g.

"donec, infecta pace, armis desilirent" giving ""while", with peace having been broken off, they came to strive with arms";

"...et non cognoscebat eam, donec peperit filium, et vocavit nomen eius Iusum." giving "...and he did not know (have carnal-knowledge of) her "until" she had given birth to a son, and the name of him she called Jesus." Hence, or otherwise: "He did not have sexual relations with her for "as-long-as" she was pregnant."

Apologies for sparsity, earlier; didn´t want to claim other´´s work as own. The Wiki entry has required some embellishment, however.

With problems like this, type in the word, nothing else, a Wiki-option will appear. If the net cannot identify the word as Latin, it´´s too similar to its English descendant, then add "Latin," followed by the word.

  • 2
    Can you elaborate more on this? This looks like a nice start of an answer, but it doesn't really get to explaining how the two seemingly opposite meanings arise.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    May 16 '19 at 16:46

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