In a 1957 encyclical titled Invicti Athletae, Pope Pius XII wrote:

... non solum profuso sanguine fidei nostrae testimonium Deo praebetur ...

which the official translation renders

... not only by shedding of blood is the witness of our faith given to God ...

This refers to shedding of one's own blood: the "unconquered athlete" in question is the martyr St. Andrew Bobola.

On the other hand, Pope St. John Paul II's 1995 encyclical Redemptoris Missio contains the passage

... est etiam inscripta in historia humani generis sanguine effuso ob ideologias et a rebus publicis ...

which again translators render

... it is also written in the history of humanity with the blood shed in the name of ideologies ...

where here the "blood shed" is clearly that of another.

Granted that it's not clear that either of these were originally written in Latin, is the distinction between profusus and effusus simply an authorial or editorial preference, or does ecclesiastical Latin routinely make a distinction of this sort?

3 Answers 3


Ignore the prefixes here. Semantically here they're exactly the same. They both mean "to pour out", and although profundere is more likely than effundere to mean "to cause to pour out", as a passive participle that distinction is not felt. Moreover, any distinction is all but lost in post-Classical Latin. By 1957, they were completely synonymous, and word choice is up to whatever a particular author wants to use for that passage.

  • I'm trying to see whether there were other cases of similar word choices from significantly different times, which might bolster the case that there was more than editorial choice going on. Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 3:44
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    And I've just come across a few instances of effuso in the sense I'd expect to see profuso in. It does seem to be mainly profuso though, at least throughout the 20th century. Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 3:51

I think the two words have different connotations, though I can't find a source to back my up aside from general knowledge of the prefixes.

"Effundere", with the prefix "ex-" (corrupted into "ef") means just plain shedding blood. It's just blood going out of the body.

"Profundere", on the other hand, means something more like "shed blood for someone" or "...on behalf of someone".

I can't figure out why the second would use the first, though, if that's the case, so I'm going to answer your final question by saying that it was editorial preference.


Profundere is old latin world and its real mean is SOMETHING THAT is in LARGE QUANTITY OR NEVER GONE TO END.Similar to Profusion and Shed load.There is Advertising company which names PROFUNDERE ADVERTISING and data collected from them is same.

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    Welcome to the site! Can you add a description of effundere too? The question was about comparing the two. And if you have some sources (like a specific dictionary), it would be nice to mention.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 13:13

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