Express buses, express trains, and express lifts — and maybe some other express things — are vehicles that have unusually few stops and are therefore faster than others. What would be a good way to express (no pun intended) this in Latin? For example, how to say "express train" in Latin? The obvious direct translation tramen expressum is one option, but the participle expressus seems too far from the desired meaning to work. Of course, one could say "fast train" (for example tramen celere) but I wonder if there is something more suitable. I would prefer a single adjective to a long explanation.

  • 1
    There is an adverb: expeditiose.
    – Hugh
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 3:47
  • I wonder where you got the word 'tramen'? I can't find a classical origin for it. There has been something of a vogue for 'hamaxostichus', which I personally think clumsy and abhorrent, preferring to adopt the modern Italian 'trena'. You might consider 'trena finite destinata'.
    – Tom Cotton
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 9:35
  • 2
    @Hugh, I couldn't find that adverb in my dictionaries. Did you mean expedite? Searching for your adverb lead me to the adjective expeditus which is the best fit I have found so far. Tramen expeditum sounds like a reasonable option.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 10:53
  • 1
    @TomCotton, tramen (traminis, neuter) is the only Latin word for a train I know. It's in my Finnish–Latin–Finnish dictionary and I'm sure it has occurred in my Latin correspondence and the news Nuntii Latini. Vicipaedia uses it, too. I think it is a combination of tra- (=*trans-) or *trahere and the instrumental derivative -men (=*-mentum*). I am not sure, though. I agree on hamaxostichus. Analogy to the Italian 'treno' is a good option, and so is your "train with a goal" translation.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 11:05
  • 2
    You're right, the Italian is 'treno'. I've used 'trena' in my own translations to make for convenient inflection, and suggested it here unthinkingly. 'Finite' is a soundly classical adverbial usage, meaning 'with restriction(s)' (Cic. de Fin. 2.9.27), and my 'destinata' (p.p. from destino) was adjectival, to produce 'train intended/ designed/planned with restrictions' — or in other words, an express train.
    – Tom Cotton
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 12:01

2 Answers 2


David Morgan's lexicon (warning: big file) suggests citatus, -a, -um for "express" in this context. His suggestions for "express train" are:

tramen* citatum, hamaxostichus* citatus

(The * indicates that it is a modern word found after AD 1400. I won't comment on which is better, since that's not really the OP's question.)

Here are some sample uses:

citato equo = "at full gallop"

citatum agmen = "rapidly marching column"

citate (adv.) = "speedily"


You could use the adjective constans to mean consistent and continuing. Alternatively, one could use liquidus. It primarily means liquid, but it can also be interpreted as flowing or without interruption. There's even fluentus, which is the Medieval Latin word for flowing, but mostly describes water. Personally, I would say vehiculum constans or continuing vehicle. I hope this was useful.

Edit: I also suggest protinus, without pause.

  • 1
    Is fluentus right? I would expect fluens, -tis instead...
    – Wtrmute
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 17:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.