What does the word immo really mean and how can I use it? I read this and this dictionary entry, and I was left confused. Some of the uses I can understand, but some I cannot. Either I do not have enough context to see what immo does or I cannot parse the English. For example, the translation "nay verily" (see first link above) does not reduce my confusion at all.

Could someone provide me with a list of possible uses of immo with simple examples? I would prefer simplified examples focusing on how immo works and interacts with other words, without too many distractions. Linking the different uses to the dictionary entries would also help me decipher the dictionaries. Is there perhaps a good rule of thumb for interpreting immo?

I was reminded of this problem by this question about "yes" and "no" — and in particular brianpck's comment under the answer.


3 Answers 3


(will add examples later)

Obviously, immo had several different uses in Classical Latin. Hannah Rosén (Rosén 2009) classifies it as a connective particle used for juncture and separation. She proposes four different uses of immo:

  1. supplemental:
  2. contrasting:
  3. adjoining+contrasting:
  4. adjoining+correcting (substituting):

She also argues that immo is not “admitted into (full-feldged) oratio obliqua” (p. 403); in other words, immo is impossible (unlikely) in reported speech. On the other hand, immo is most commonly used in dialogs (but not exclusively).

Pinskter 2015 also discusses immo in section 6.46 (v.1) - he calls it a corrective adverb. See examples (a)-(g) pp. 377-378.

Feel free to peruse pp. 218-234 in Ferdinandi Handii Tursellinus, seu De particulis latinis commentarii (vol.3).

  • 2
    I like "corrective adverb." I never was confused by immo, but maybe that's because I'm not aware of all the uses: I read it as mostly being to contradict a previous statement, and I guess I always saw the "supplemental" use as somewhat hyperbolic, like "You have NO idea..."
    – brianpck
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 16:35
  • 5
    This is a good answer and I am willing to accept it, but I was waiting for the examples. Are you still going to add them? (No hurry, just reminding you.)
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 8:35

I always read immo as signifying emphatic denial, though what this means in different contexts may differ: Is he alive? NO! He's very much dead! Or: So you hate him? NO! I make sacrifices every night for the earth to gape open and swallow him whole!


It can be summed up as the casual use of English “actually.”

For the question “Is he well?”

“Actually, he’s the dictator!”

“Actually, he is dead.”

It signifies either contradiction to the previous statement or that it is an understatement.

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