Is there a Latin dictionary that actually show the verb patterns? Patterns like

Adiuvare + accusative somebody

Ire + dative location

Otherwise I only see the examples and it is not possible to understand the alternative parameters that that verb can take, because all alternative forms are not visible, also cases are ambiguous generally.

As an example, Duden and some other German dictionaries has this, showing alternative forms formulated (example is for werden) https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/werden_planen_vermutlich

In English also, as an example if I search "talk", forms are shown like

To talk to somebody, to talk with somebody, to talk about something ...

So that I know in which ways I can use it. Latin dictionaries generally confuse me.

  • 1
    All good dictionaries should show this! You will find that some are not very explicit in the case of simple transitive verbs like adjuvare, but does, for example, the L & S entry for gaudere leave any questions open? It is is a rather dense jungle of letters, but the information is there. Sep 6, 2020 at 19:05
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    Since I take it you read German, you may prefer the Georges. Sep 6, 2020 at 19:05
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    @SebastianKoppehel, I have seen the dictionarie(s) in Perseus before, it feels more suitable for academical eyes. The Georges looks quite niche for cross studying two languages in the same time, thank you very much. I m looking for something clearer with simpler examples, but maybe this is the way for a dead language (Authors don't have the courage to form their own sentence examples?). Will wait for a while for alternatives, otherwise these might be the answers : )
    – oguzalb
    Sep 7, 2020 at 7:51
  • re "Authors don't have the courage to form their own sentence examples?" - that's not how dictionaries are made now. There are excellent dictionaries of the type you are interested in but of(Present-Day) English or Russian. English - because there are a lot of people who need/want to know it (i.e. more funds for lexicographers), Russian - because of a really strong lexicographic team of researchers there (led by Apresjan). I' afraid there is little demand for such "practical", learner-friendly, modern dictionaries of Latin.
    – Alex B.
    Sep 7, 2020 at 15:17
  • and traditionally Latin is taught receptively, i.e. the focus is on the so called receptive skills (like being able to read "the authors" rather than write or speak in it).
    – Alex B.
    Sep 7, 2020 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


I do not know a Latin–English dictionary that gives simple, accessible, clearly structured usage notes for verbs and simple, stripped-down examples. If such a dictionary exists, I would expect it to be found in the educational market, catering to students of Latin in secondary school.

I know this is an English language website, and non-English dictionaries may not be very helpful for most readers. To those who speak German, however, I can recommend a Latin–German dictionary which I believe fits the requirements the OP seems to be asking for: Langenscheidt's Großes Schulwörterbuch Lateinisch-Deutsch, which is indeed targeted at secondary-school students. Here is what the entry for adiuvare looks like (screenshot from the online preview on the publisher's site):

enter image description here

Note: (1) usage patterns are indicated by using ali- placeholders like aliquem (accusative object) or forms of res; (2) succinct examples that are easy to remember; (3) the typesetting makes the entry easy to read; (4) it gives only the most important usages. This dictionary actually has a long pedigree, it is based on Erich Pertsch's revisions to the Menge-Güthling, ultimately going back to Hermann Menge's first Latin–German dictionary from 1907. (Langenscheidt has published a confusing multitude of fashionably-named dictionaries based on this stock through the decades.)

For comparison, to show how far we've come, here is the same entry from my own copy of Langenscheidts Handwörterbuch Lateinisch-Deutsch (1983):

enter image description here

To be honest, one gets used to the telegram style with time, so it is actually pretty usable. But I have to admit the newer version is easier to read.

  • Thanks for the answer, this could be helpful, but I am not sure if I can pick this in stackexchange as an answer since we are generally talking about English. But the first picture was the structure I was looking for
    – oguzalb
    Sep 9, 2020 at 22:44

I would recommend taking a look at Fax nova linguae latinae as I find it to meet the demand of simplicity and verb usage. Personally, I would have liked to discover this source earlier on my studies.

On celo, for example, it readily presents the different ways of usage:

Celare aliquem aliquid & de aliqua re, alicui aliquid.

So we can see the double accusative pattern (aliquem aliquid), and the other two patterns; plus an example celare errata alicujus (all those with an English translation). It usually tries to display several senses of a lemma if they exist. It also shares idiomatic expressions from time to time in his examples.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, it is not transcribed, and accessible only by its scan.

  • wow this is gold! did you use it for a long time? are there errors?
    – oguzalb
    Jan 12, 2021 at 21:43
  • @oguzalb, I used this occasionally in last 2 month or so. I don't know of errors. some of the pages are cut on the left side unfortunately.
    – d_e
    Jan 12, 2021 at 22:10

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