I would call the pronoun iste a "second person demonstrative pronoun"1, meaning roughly "that thing near you". It can also have a pejorative tone, implying that the speaker does not approve of the thing. I am not confident in my ability to render idiomatic examples in English; let me know if I need to elaborate on this tone.

Can the adverbs istuc, istic, and istinc derived from iste also have such a tone, or do they only mean "to/in/from where you are" without any judgement of the place?

1 I mean this in the same sense as hic is a "first person demonstrative pronoun"; hic refers to something close to or possessed by the speaker but not to the speaker. Similarly, iste does not refer to the addressee, but something close to them. This meaning is not always strong, but quite often it is.

  • It's simply a demonstrative pronoun, nothing to do with 'second person'. The adverbs might sometimes carry the implication that (place, etc.) rather than some other, but it's not very strong.
    – Tom Cotton
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 15:15
  • @TomCotton At least Lewis Elementary and the material I studied from indicate that it is indeed second person. Lewis and Short hints at this at I.A.2. Perhaps I should ask a separate question about the second person character of iste.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 15:26
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    Those examples only refer the object to a second person. The first instance of your first reference, tu tibi istas comprimite manus (which is a bit strange, having tu followed by a plural imperative), means 'you keep those hands to yourself', where 'those hands' certainly belong to a second person (tibi) but are not themselves being addressed.
    – Tom Cotton
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 16:28
  • 1
    @TomCotton By "second person demonstrative pronoun" I meant a demonstrative pronoun that refers to something possessed by or close to the addressee. I did not mean that that it refers to the addressee. In a same way hic refers to something close to the speaker, and I might call it a first person pronoun in a similar fashion. I'll edit the question to clarify.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 16:43
  • 1
    I see exactly what you are getting at, but the terminology is quite unfamiliar to me! Let's hope that the revised question draws a good answer.
    – Tom Cotton
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 16:56

1 Answer 1


(Caveat lector: This "answer" was based on a misreading of the question and addresses the pejorative force of the pronoun istic, not the adverb. I will leave for now because it is tangentially related.)

As a first point, I should mention how exactly istic is derived from iste: it is iste + -ce. This -ce is an "inseparable strengthening demonstrative particle," and is found in other words like huiusce, tunc, nunc, or hocce. (See also Formenlehre der lateinischen sprache, pg. 211ff, which gives many examples of usage and some irregular formations.)

Given that the -ce is an emphatic form, it seems reasonable to expect it to have the same pejorative nuance when the occasion demands. Iste and istic occur with enormous frequency in Plautus and Terence, given their use in 2nd person situations--they also appear much more often in letters than in formal addresses or writings. Here are two examples that should demonstrate the point:

Quod scribis Terentiam de obsignatoribus mei testamenti loqui, primum tibi persuade me istaec non curare neque esse quicquam aut parvae curae aut novae loci. (Cicero, Epistulae ad Atticum 12.18a)

and (Caelius to Cicero):

Illud nunc a te peto, si eris, ut spero, otiosus, aliquod ad nos, ut intellegamus nos tibi curae esse, σύνταγμα conscribas. 'qui tibi istuc' inquis 'in mentem venit, homini non inepto?' (Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares 8.3.3)

  • Thanks! The second example is great, but it seems that the first one has the declinable pronoun istic (emphasized iste) whereas my question was about the non-declinable adverb istic (roughly "there") and its companions. I believe the two words are separate. However, I consider this as good evidence of pejorative nuance; if it is found in a derived pronoun, it makes all the more sense in a derived adverb.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 20:56
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Obviously my reading comprehension skills are lacking :) I'm pretty sure the second istuc is a pronoun as well: the qui means "why."
    – brianpck
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 22:55

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