Symbiosis (the association of two different organisms attached to each other or one within the other for mutual advantage) derived from the Greek, sumbiosis = "a living together", does not appear to have a one-word (or any) Latin equivalent. The Romans do not even seem to have borrowed the Greek word (Oxford; Lewis & Short; Wiki offer nothing.)

Those who love David-Attenborough's progs. will have seen birds, perched on the back of a rhinoceros, devouring the insects who have taken up residence in the rhino's skin: the rhino gets clean; the birds get fed. There are many examples in nature; but, how to express this concept, in Latin:

inter se ipsos superant bene = "They survive well amongst themselves.".

This may be too long when brevity is required: inter duos superant = "They survive between the two (of them).".

Alternatively, inter duos = "between the two".

Therefore, a symbiotic relationship would be "a-between-the-two" = "inter duos/ duas/ duo".

Any thoughts?

1 Answer 1


cohabitō -āre: to live together

cohabitātiō -ōnis: living together

cohabitātor -ōris: a co-inhabitant

These would be the literal translation of the idea of "living together" These do seem to be Later Latin words. Pliny would be the Classical author most likely to express this sort of idea in his writings, but I haven't read enough of him to be sure what phrasing he'd use.

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