Lewis and Short has an entry for a noun tŭdes, with the genitive singular given as "is (ĭtis, acc. to Fest. p. 253 Müll.)". It is defined as "a hammer, mallet". The two citations in the entry show the forms tudites and tudibus:

“tudites malleos appellant antiqui a tundendo,” Fest. p. 352 sq. Müll.: fabriles operae tudibus contundere massas Festinant, Auct. Aetnae, 659.

I understand the first quote to be saying that tudites is an old word for malleos, so I'm unsure whether the word was even really in use in Classical Latin.

The main thing I'm wondering is where the nominative tudes and genitive tudis are attested. I tried to search for them in the PHI Latin Texts corpus, but nothing came up. Also, the Wiktionary entry and a blog post I found indicate the existence of an i-stem genitive plural tudium, but I likewise cannot figure out where this is attested. What kinds of Latin texts used the word tudes? Can anyone provide quotes that use the other forms aside from the accusative plural tudites and ablative plural tudibus?

3 Answers 3


I wouldn't take Wiktionary's declension tables too seriously. They're algorithmically generated, and don't necessarily imply that any particular form is attested.

In this case, I haven't been able to find any attested forms apart from the tuditēs and tudibus you cited. So any singular forms would have to be back-derived from there.

The genitive singular is nice and easy to predict: we can cut off the plural endings to get the stems tudit- and tud-, then add the third-declension -is, to get *tuditis and *tudis. This is what L&S have done. All plural forms and most singular forms are built off the same "apparent stem", whether or not it's the same as the underlying stem, since all those endings "react" the same way.

The nominative singular is a bit more difficult. On the face of it, we would expect to just put the third-declension ending -s on the end of the stem, then apply regular sound-change laws: *tudit-s > *tudīs > *tudis (cf lapid-s > lapīs > lapis "stone", nom pl lapidēs), or *tud-s > *tūs (cf ped-s > pēs "foot", dat pl pedibus).

However, due to vowel reduction, we can't actually be certain of the vowel in the stem: it's also possible the original stem was *tudet-, which would give a nominative singular *tudēs > *tudes, but the same plural *tudet-ēs > tuditēs (cf milet-s > milēs > miles "soldier", nom pl militēs).

Or, instead of ending in a consonant, this word could have been an i-stem *tudi-, in which case the nominative would be either *tudis or *tudēs, but have the same plural *tudi-ibus > tudibus (cf vāti-s > vātis/vātēs "bard", dat pl vātibus).

L&S seem to have considered the form *tudes and/or *tudēs the most reasonable (conveniently leaving off the vowel length), and chosen it as their reconstruction. Which makes sense to me: nouns declining like vātēs and miles are significantly more common in Latin than nouns declining like pēs or lapis. Moreover, it would explain how we see both tuditēs and tudibus: it was presumably an obscure word, so an alternation between *tudes and *tudēs isn't too far-fetched (especially since we see this sort of vowel alternation in better-attested third-declension nouns too). Some people used it one way and ended up with tuditēs, some used the other way and ended up with tudibus, and the word as a whole ended up with two different declension patterns. (However, I'd still have marked it with a star, personally.)

As for the short ŭ in the stem, I'm guessing that's for etymological reasons. Compare tutŭ "I have hit", stŭdeō "I dedicate myself to". This noun seems to have come from the same root, and would be expected to have the same vowel quantity.

  • Thanks. I hadn't thought about how the root being the same as tutŭdī could imply that the vowel was short. That makes sense. However, couldn't a different ablaut grade of the same root (like *ew or *ow) lead to a long vowel? I'm not sure at what time eu and ou changed to ū, or whether there is a general principle that such nouns are built on the zero grade rather than the e- or o- grade of a root.
    – Asteroides
    Sep 7, 2019 at 22:00
  • @sumelic Both fair points! I'll recheck my vowel lengths in endings.
    – Draconis
    Sep 7, 2019 at 22:50
  • Another small note about vowel length: I'm not sure that it's correct to reconstruct a stage with compensatory vowel lengthening for all nouns that show -s for -ds or -ts in the nominative singular. Pes is an unusual word, considering that it's not a regular reflex of the reconstructed PIE nominative at all. De Vaan (citing Jasanoff 2004: 414) says that the vowel in pes could have been lengthened by Lachmann's Law, which would not be expected to apply to roots ending in t.
    – Asteroides
    Sep 12, 2019 at 3:27
  • Alessio's post that I linked to below fdb's answer suggests that heavy scansion of the last syllable sospes etc. in older sources was caused by a word-final long consonant.
    – Asteroides
    Sep 12, 2019 at 3:30
  • Jasanoff 2008, available online, seems to give an overview of Jasanoff's opinion on the contexts where Lachmann's law-type vowel lengthening applied.
    – Asteroides
    Sep 12, 2019 at 3:47

Just making a post to hold a few more things I found out since asking the question.

This noun is likely related to touiller (Fr.), tudiculare, and tudicula

There is a French verb touiller 'toss', whose ou points to Latin short ŭ, which is thought to be derived from a Latin first-conjugation verb tŭdĭculō, tŭdĭcŭlāre. The Latin verb is thought to be derived from a feminine noun tŭdĭcŭla, -ae 'a small machine for bruising olives' (L&S). Tudicula seems to be used only once in the PHI classical corpus, in the line cited by L&S from Columella's De Re Rustica

est et organum erectae tribulae simile, quod tudicula uocatur, idque non incommode opus efficit, nisi quod frequenter uitiatur et, si bacae plusculum ingesseris, inpeditur.

L&S explain tudicula as a diminutive of tudes, although that violates the general rule saying that diminutives of masculine nouns are masculine (and take -ulus rather than -ula unless the original noun was a first-declension noun). The document "Oscilaciones entre género masculino y femenino documentadas en latín medieval", by Francisco González Luis, mentions that the non-feminine forms tudiculum and tudiculi were also used at some point.

While this still seems to me like fairly scanty evidence about the form (*)tudes itself, it supports the reconstruction of a short vowel, which was something that I expressed doubt about in the comments.


The name Tuditanus has been supposed to be connected to the noun meaning 'hammer'.

The nominative singular form tudes is definitely attested in post-classical sources

The form Tudes itself seems to have been used as an epithet for the individual also known as Carolus Martellus, or in French Charles Martel, whose life spanned the 7th and 8th centuries. I don't know what the earliest attestation of this is; I found two examples from the 17th century, in books from 1656 (Thuani Enucleati Pars IV., p. 58: "Carolus Tudes sive Martellus") and 1651 (Almagesti novi pars posterior tomi primi, page iii: "Carolus verò Martellus, seu Tudes,").

In 1822, a species of fish was given the scientific name Zygaena tudes by Valenciennes (but the taxonomy seems to have been revised since then).


The "declension" table in Wiktionary is purely hypothetical; it does not prove that any of these forms actually occur in any text.

The attested abl. pl. tudibus implies nom. sing. tudis or tudes. It is normal lexicographic practice to lemmatize all nouns under a (real or hypothetical) nom. sing.

  • 2
    Could you expand a bit on why tudibus would be expected to go with nominative tudis/tudes? How can a form like tus (along the lines of pes, pedibus; laus, laudibus; praes, praedibus) be ruled out? Or would the form tudites be taken as evidence against that kind of nominative singular?
    – Asteroides
    Aug 8, 2019 at 14:10
  • @sumelic. That is a good point.
    – fdb
    Aug 8, 2019 at 14:16
  • 1
    tus, turis is the word for incense or frankincense (used in a thurifer).
    – Tom Cotton
    Aug 8, 2019 at 14:18
  • @TomCotton .... which does not rule out the existence of a homophone meaning "hammer".
    – fdb
    Aug 8, 2019 at 14:56
  • Quite so. Just thought I'd point it out!
    – Tom Cotton
    Aug 8, 2019 at 16:35

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