I'm looking for a Latin word for "vessel", which in English can mean a person who receives or holds something immaterial. Options I've found so far are receptor,acceptor, gerulus, and bajulus (which had alternate spellings of baijulus and bajolus).

I'm not sure if any of those conveys quite the same flavor that vessel does for a person in English, though. To me what is most important is that the thing being carried or held is not physical.

  • 1
    Perhaps there's a better answer, but honestly, I'd just use one of the many Latin words for a container for physical objects (capsa, capsella, locellus, loculus, loculamentum, receptaculum, thesaurus, etc.), with the immaterial thing that is held added in the genitive. At most, I'd add a form of quidam in agreement with the container word, to signal a figurative usage, as I see writers such as Pliny the Younger do – e.g., quidam thesaurus virtutis.
    – cnread
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 20:51
  • That makes sense. Something like capsellae memoriae imperfectae, or quaedam capsellae memoriae imperfectae? For context this is a descriptive statement being directed at someone else (in this case the someone is plural).
    – Adam
    Commented Nov 5, 2020 at 21:32

1 Answer 1


I would suggest vas, -is, which has the somewhat unusual plural vasa, -orum.

The first thing I thought of when I heard the word "vessel" was II Corinthians 4:7. Here, St. Paul speaks of how an immaterial gift ("the light of the knowledge of God's glory") is received in our fragile bodies:

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency may be of the power of God, and not of us.

Here's the original Greek:

ἔχομεν δὲ τὸν θησαυρὸν τοῦτον ἐν ὀστρακίνοις σκεύεσιν, ἵνα ἡ ὑπερβολὴ τῆς δυνάμεως ᾖ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ μὴ ἐξ ἡμῶν. . . .

And here's Jerome's Vulgate translation:

Habemus autem thesaurum istum in vasis fictilibus: ut sublimitas sit virtutis Dei, et non ex nobis.

(N.B. It appears that Jerome construes "δυνάμεως" with "θεοῦ," not "ὑπερβολὴ." I'm not sure if this is due to a difference in source text. I used the Douay-Rheims English translation above, which corresponds to Jerome's Latin text.)

  • I don't know any ancient greek, but this is a great example of the usage of the word in a similar context. Thanks!
    – Adam
    Commented Nov 6, 2020 at 15:01

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