I recently came across the following entry on Wiktionary for the adjective "uenetus":

  1. of or pertaining to the Veneti; Venetian
  2. blue, blue-green, sea-blue

Why and how is this adjective related to this second meaning? Was it a colour the Veneti used a lot?

  • 2
    This may be way off, and I haven't looked anything up, but I believe the Veneti were one of the racing 'teams' in the circus. Each had a different color, and perhaps the Veneti were blue?
    – cnread
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 16:21
  • 2
    Comes from the colour of blood vessels vena, also used for flowing waters, same sense as φλεψ Greek.
    – Roland F
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 17:34
  • 3
    Lewis & Short think “Perh. taken from the color of the sea on the coast.” Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 21:36
  • 3
    @cnread They were blue! But if I read L & S correctly, they were called Veneti because of that, not because they were from Venetia. Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 22:06
  • @SebastianKoppehel, Yes, in retrospect, it's obvious that the name would have derived from the color and not the other way, esp. given the names of the other teams. It was early when I wrote that comment...
    – cnread
    Commented Sep 29, 2023 at 5:05

1 Answer 1


This is the contents of the corresponding entry in the 1968 edition of Oxford Latin Dictionary:

uenetus³ ~a, ~um, a. [app. VENETVSI] Sea-blue (as the colour of one of the circus factions); (masc. or neut. as sb.) the Blue faction.

The meaning of the abbreviation app. is apparently and the brackets [   ] enclose etymological remarks.

In the entry VenetusI we find:

VenetusI ~a ~um, a. Of the Veneti (on the Adriatic) or their country.

Another interesting entry is this one:

Venetiānus ~ī, m. A supporter of the Blue faction in the circus.

So, uenetus was the colour of one of the circus factions and the etymology of this word seems to be the adjective Venetus, which refers to the Veneti people or their country.

  • 1
    Analogous to 'navy' blue (the colour of one of our military factions) in English.
    – dbmag9
    Commented Dec 11, 2023 at 17:51
  • @dbmag9 I mean, maybe. Navy blue has its name from its use by the Royal Navy. Venetus would be analogous if it were derived from the Veneti's use of the color in their own clothing but that isn't what Charo actually wrote. I had the same feeling: I upvoted before realizing that this answer is entirely circular, saying it's named that because it seems to be named that and then supposing the two names are identical... for some reason, but without saying what. It's just a mirror of the original question, presented as an answer.
    – lly
    Commented Mar 5 at 16:03

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