The noun Bonum ("a good thing") seems to have taken on a life of its own as a distinct word in Latin usage.

In derivation and meaning, is this simply a neuter substantive of the adjective Bonus ("good")?

References to any discussion of this that may appear in the works of recognized Classical or Neoclassical Latin scholars would be much appreciated.


I don't have anything to say about this particular case, but the phenomenon itself is common. Any adjective can be substantivized. For example rubrum (from ruber, "red") can mean "the color red" or "a red thing". Translating such nouns depends heavily on context.

As with any word, a substantivized adjective can acquire a meaning different from the original literal one. I do not know if there has been such a development with bonum, but bonum as a noun meaning "a good thing" is a regular derivation.

  • 2
    As an interesting aside, the neuter article in Spanish is only used for this kind of substantivizing, e.g. lo bueno, lo posible
    – brianpck
    Aug 22 '16 at 12:45

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