I am looking for some guidelines for using the -tim suffix in the sense "one by one". Some examples: guttatim, nominatim, paul(l)atim, syllabatim, viritim. (It seems that this is not the only use of the suffix, but I want to focus on this particular use.) Can I use this suffix productively? If yes, are there rules for attaching it to a word?

This is related to a specific problem that I have: I want to say "one faculty at a time". My university uses the word facultas for "faculty" — translating, for example, "the faculty of humanities" with facultas rerum humanarum. Would facultatim be correct?

An example sentence: "New doctors are promoted faculty by faculty."
My translation: Doctores novi facultatim creantur.

  • 2
    Good question. Does interim contain the same suffix?
    – Cerberus
    Aug 6 '16 at 13:23
  • 1
    If you want to sidestep the problem facultates seriatim conveys one-by-one. Or, a word for randomly occurs in the Evangelium board-game; I think it's sparsim.
    – Hugh
    Aug 6 '16 at 13:49
  • @Cerberus, I'm not sure. Not all words ending in -im have a similar meaning, so I suspect there are at least two suffices. I guess that interim has a (semantically) different suffix (-im?), but it's just a guess.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Aug 6 '16 at 14:23
  • 1
    Seems like facultatim would be using the suffix -im, not -tim, since the stem of the noun is facultat-.
    – TKR
    Aug 6 '16 at 19:33
  • 1
    The Oxford English Dictionary lists only the suffix -im, not *-tim. It says interim, partim, ceterim, paulatim contain this suffix -im, which probably originates in an old accusative form of a nominative ending -is. It seems the -t- before it is a separate suffix, possibly related to the -t- in supine stems.
    – Cerberus
    Aug 7 '16 at 1:10

Facultatim would be a good translation of "one faculty at a time," but only if you're talking about human ability (first sight, then reason, then hearing, then perception, and so on). If you're talking about university faculty then I'm not sure what the right word is.

  • The choice of facultas as "faculty" is already given to me, so the question is really whether facultatim is a correct form. Thanks for the confirmation! The general question about -tim remains open, but help with my special case is much appreciated.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Aug 6 '16 at 18:51

All the adverbs in this answer (all four groups), suggests Ainsworth (1780), are colloquial accusatives. Compare--

aetatem =for a long period of time, for ages.
prorsum =straight on
prorsum et rursum =back and forth
passim =everywhere
interim = in between
sparsim =scattered
praesertim =foremost.

In a sub-group of these the stem ending, -t-, indicates a verbal adjective.

seriatim=one by one
partim = piece by piece
guttatim =drop by drop
particulatim =a littlebit at a time

The 2 following groups make use of this -tim suffix to indicate analogous incremental units.

literatim, letter by letter
verbatim, word by word
phrasatim (Quintilian)


viritim =man by man
manipulatim =platoon by platoon
centuriatim =company by company

IMO .1. the absence of any parallel adverbs for 'class by class,' 'tutorial group by tutorial group,' and 'university by university' makes facultatim an anomaly.

.2. The -t- in facultatim is part of the noun stem, and to create a verbal or pseudo-verbal stem to match the other examples would create facultatatim. (vid. sup. guttatim )

.3. There is a certain objectification in any form of administration but especially in the army which describes men as units.

However I may be being too timid, or too set in my ways.

Tentatively, I am out of practice and was never fluent, may I suggest:

Quos dignos clarosque illos doctores quanquam facultatem seriatim eligere decet.


I think the point of departure for all of these is partim, originally the acc. sing. of pars (classical part-em), but later lexicalised as an adverb. From this, speakers isolated the pseudo-suffix -tim and attached it to the stem of other words, like gutta-tim. At a third stage this was reanalysed as gutt-atim and the new pseudo-suffix -atim was used to form words like nomin-atim. I assume (and this is actually what you are asking) that they were relatively productive.

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