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My secondary (middle and high) school has a trophy awarded to the most decorated sportsperson at sports day.

From my vague memories, the trophy, and its subsequent winner, are called the Victor Adornum or Victrix Adornum.

I presume that they translate as adorned victor (m./f.). How do they really translate? Are they Latin or some sort of pseudo-Latinate phrasing?

Additionally, I was wondering how one ought to pluralise them, from my — limited — experience, one reverts to a masculine plural form if both genders are at play, so would it be Victors Adornum?

  • I hope it was a happy reunion, you and the trophy. – Hugh Jan 22 at 12:38
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    @Hugh Sport and I have always been polar opposites I am afraid – BladorthinTheGrey Jan 29 at 17:31
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In simpler times, for younger athletes, some schools awarded a woooden shield to the best all-rounder on sportsday. That contestant became:

VICTOR LUDORUM the Winner of the Games

Is it possible that, with your older, more serious competitors, the best athlete was

VICTOR AGŌNUM - the Winner of the Contests

AGŌN, Agōnis, a contest; the genitive plural Agōnum =of the contests.

The plural of Victor is Victores ludorum; and of Victrix is Victrices agonum
Athena is called 'victrix' but otherwise the victrix title is more often awarded to a winning state. fleet, essay.

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    2 and a half years down the line and I have just seen the trophy from that time, it turns out it was Victor/Victrix Ludorum! – BladorthinTheGrey Jan 22 at 8:50
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One possibility is that it was victor adornatus and victrix adornata. The participle adornatus/adornata/adornatum comes from the verb adornare and means roughly "decorated" or "adorned". The two expressions I gave translate as "adorned victor" and "adorned victress". The word "victress" may be old-fashioned English, but I use it to keep the distinction that is present in Latin.

In Latin the participle (like an adjective) follows the gender of the noun. It now happens that the different forms of the participle and the two genders of the winner all decline somewhat differently. The plurals would be victores adornati and victrices adornatae. If you wish to refer to both male and female recipients of the prize collectively, you can use the masculine version alone or you can combine them into victores adornati et victrices adornatae.

You mentioned in a comment that the second word ended in -um. If that was adornatum, then neuter was used. This is ungrammatical, since the words victor and victrix are masculine and feminine, respectively.

It is also possible that the second word is meant to mean "decoration" rather than "decorated", but I am not familiar with a word adornum meaning such a thing. In this case the phrase is probably meant to translate as "prize of the victor/victress" or "prize for the victor/victress". This would require declining victor and victrix into genitive or dative: victoris/victricis or victori/victrici.

It seems most likely to me that adornatus/adornata was meant, and there is a grammatical error. But I could be mistaken, and exact information of the spelling or ideas from other users may convince me to change my mind.

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    That seems good, it is possible that I was mistaken with the '-um' ending. When you talk about the plural, is it known whether, classically, the Romans would have used both the gendered plurals or simply the masculine plural for a multi-gender group like most Romance languages? – BladorthinTheGrey Sep 3 '16 at 16:27
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    @BladorthinTheGrey, for a multi-gender group of humans or animals Latin uses masculine. Therefore victores et victrices adornati is also correct, but sometimes you might want to include both genders fully just to emphasize that females are wholly included. – Joonas Ilmavirta Sep 3 '16 at 16:42

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