Quisquis and quicumque are both described as indefinite (or generic) relative pronouns, and are both defined in dictionaries as "whoever, everyone who...". Is there any difference at all between the two pronouns -- functionally, or in terms of idiom or period?

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    Constituent Syntax, by Philip Baldi, seems to answer this question in an extended passage beginning on pp. 105, but unfortunately pp. 106-7 and 113-4, so I'm not able to use it to answer your question. Mar 1, 2016 at 20:41
  • @JoelDerfner Thanks. Baldi does say (105) that traditional grammars claim that quisquis is generally substantival, quicumque adjectival (which has been my assumption too), but then goes on to say that things are more complicated... (Btw I think your comment is missing something like "are not available for Google preview".) From reading around the hidden pages my guess is that Baldi thinks quisquis is about irrelevance/free choice of referent while quicumque is about universality (all things such that...), but that the uses start to merge already in Cicero's time.
    – TKR
    Mar 1, 2016 at 21:32
  • Okay, it turns out it's a chapter in volume 3 of Constituent Syntax, which is a collection edited by Philip Baldi. The article itself is called "Quantification" and is by Alessandra Bertocchi, Mirka Maraldi, and Anna Orlandini. Unfortunately, I can't make hide or hair of it. I'll email it to you if you like. Mar 1, 2016 at 22:23
  • @JoelDerfner Actually I would like to read that! My email is tkrstackexchange at gmail.com. Thanks!
    – TKR
    Mar 2, 2016 at 3:22
  • Okay, after taking some time away and coming back to it, I get a pretty clear understanding that Bertocchi, Maraldi, and Orlandini say that before Cicero, "quicumque" usually means "all, every," but that in Cicero it begins to overlap with "quisquis" in meaning "whoever." Mar 10, 2016 at 12:36

1 Answer 1


Well, according to Gildersleeve, p. 59, quisquis is a noun and quicumque is an adjective.

Quisquis is occasionally used as an adjective, but not in classical Latin. Occasionally, also, but rarely in Cicero, it is used for quisque, quidque.

The fact that he says this (while saying nothing in the same vein about quicumque) suggests to me that the reverse is not true—that, in fact, quicumque is used as both an adjective and a noun.


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