Where is the stress in the various forms of presbyter? Would I be correct with the following? (I have placed the apostrophe before the stressed syllable.)

Gratias vobis ago

nom. 'presbyter
gen. pres'byteri
acc. pres'byterum
abl. pres'bytero

1 Answer 1


The first thing to check is vowel lengths. L&S indicates that all vowels in presbyter and presbyteri are short apart from the genitive ending -i.

In presbyter the second last syllable by is light (also known as short) as it is open and has a short vowel. Therefore the stress falls on the third last syllable. In the other forms the second last syllable is te, and it is light for the same reason. Therefore the stress falls again on the third last syllable, but it is now a different syllable as the endings add a syllable.

Your stresses are thus entirely correct.

  • 2
    This definitely is confirmed by what I've heard. Now I'm curious, though: does Latin always follow its stress rules even for imported Greek words? I wonder what happens when the accent on the Greek word doesn't fall on the same place as Latin stress rules place it.
    – brianpck
    Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 13:23
  • 4
    @brianpck My impression was always that Latin completely ignores Greek accents, which is all the more likely if the stress is realised differently in the two languages. But I've never seen this explicitly discussed, and I answered completely within Latin.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Oct 10, 2020 at 13:29

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