In Latin etiam and enim seem to have pretty similar meanings.

I notice that both Greek and Latin seem to use connective words like this a lot, I suppose because they had no punctuation, so they serve as sentence markers.

What is the difference in sense between the two words?

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    etiam / enim - could you perhaps tell us a little about where you see the similarities? Because as far a I can see, the two words have little in common. Oct 10, 2020 at 16:02
  • @SebastianKoppehel Well, when I translate the words I generally find myself translating both words as "indeed". I don't really understand the sense behind the words that make them different. The sense that both seem to have is the idea, "...and here is another thing along the same lines..." Oct 10, 2020 at 18:48
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    If you see the dictionary entries linked by @SebastianKoppehel, their meanings are quite different in general, though they could be interchangeable in some contexts. The confusion could come from the fact that they are treated as pet words sometimes, especially enim (and thus rendered nearly meaningless)
    – Rafael
    Oct 10, 2020 at 21:42
  • "Etiam" is "also" and "enim" is "namely". Very different. Jun 18, 2023 at 14:26

3 Answers 3


A good place to start is a dictionary. There are plenty of good and free ones online, and I will go with Lewis & Short.

The entries for these two words offer the following among the possible translations:

etiam: annexes a fact or thought to that which has already been said, 'and also', 'and furthermore', 'also', 'likewise', 'besides', 'one thing more', 'so', 'conversely', 'and even', 'yes indeed', 'even yet'.

enim: a demonstrative corroborative particle. 'truly', 'certainly', 'to be sure', 'indeed', 'in fact', 'certainly', 'for'.

Follow the links to see the actual dictionary entries and further details. It is very useful to learn to navigate such entries. My lists are not exhaustive, nor is a list of English translations a perfect description of a Latin word. The different contexts and nuances are explained for words like these in great detail. My goal with a short list of translations here is just to give a quick idea — but I wouldn't go down to just one translation, as that tends to be misleading for words like these.

As a quick summary, etiam adds something (and can sometimes play the role of et) whereas enim is about strengthening. The two do overlap somewhat, but typically etiam is not about strengthening and enim is not about adding.


After further research, the basic idea seems to be that etiam means something additional or added on to the previous thought. enim has the same meaning but also has the sense of corroboration. So, for example, he did this, then he did that, versus he did this and he did it well.

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    'he did this, then he did that, versus he did this and he did it well': This profoundly misrepresents the two words and the distinction between them. Etiam is not a synonym for deinde, and enim is not a synonym for bene.
    – cnread
    Jun 19, 2023 at 15:35

I'm reading The Colloquia of the Hermeneumata Pseudodositheana which has Latin and its translations.

...poposci calciamenta et ocreas; erat enim frigus...

...I asked for shoes and leggings, for it was cold...

In this context it is postpositive "for" in the sense of "because".

And for etiam, which is in the book Learning Latin in an Ancient Way,

...diuturnus enim languor et senecta, quae saepe etiam languore deterior est, universam substantiam eius absumpserat...

For a long illness and old age, which often even worst than illness is, had consumed all his property.

But I think it depends in the context, for/enim the words have many different meanings.

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