I am looking for a noun meaning "survivor". It looks like the closest in meaning is the adjective superstes. Can that be used as a noun, and if so how do you decline it? Per the post on deriving nouns from adjectives, it seems like there were a several ways to go about it.

Additionally, is there another adjective that would mean something like one who has survived / they who have survived, or is there a noun that already has this meaning?

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    superstes sounds fine. As a noun you use the masculine or feminine form, as the case may be. The survivors of the plane crash = superstites aeronavis praecipitatae. Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 22:47

2 Answers 2


"Vitalis" would be good -- it is held in contrast to death. It is a word to describe a person who possesses a strong constitution and all qualities pertinent to life.

"Superens" (Or Superent, if you want to Anglicize the word) literally means "one who is going above" but is more commonly used to mean "one who is conquering." Metaphorically, one could be rising above death.

"Supervivens" is more literal than superens. "One who is surviving/outliving."

This is just me looking up words from the Whitaker's Words dictionary. If there are better-attested phrases in the literature, I'd go with those.


The relevant verbs for surviving seem to be superesse, superstare, and pervivere. Out of these only superstare seems to have an attested associated adjective (or noun), and that is indeed superstes. That is the best choice in my opinion.

If you prefer to use one of the other verbs, then you could reasonably coin superens or pervivus. The adjective vivus is a well attested classical word and by analogy to pervivere (if you are using that verb too) this makes for a reasonable choice. The participle ens seems to be a later invention but also a possibility.

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