The English word "resistance" is obviously etymologically related to resistentia, and I would like to understand how good of a translation resistentia. To be clear, I mean resistance in the sense of a rebellious movement, strong opposition to present rule, or something similar. There are several words in L&S which translate to "resistance" or "opposition":

Based on the dictionary entries, I don't see much of a difference between these. Are there differences, or are they pretty much interchangeable? Does the extant text corpus suggest notable differences in tone or style?

Judging by intuition — which is known to have failed miserably — I see a distinction into three categories: The ones coming from pugna refer to armed resistance. The ones coming from refragari I don't understand; I don't see where they come from so that I could see what kind of a nuance they might have. Finally resistentia sounds like standing against something, suggesting a different tone from the more militant words. I have no proof to substantiate my guesswork, and I might be reading too much into things. However, I do think that the pugna-words mean essentially the same thing, and so do the refragari-words; the question is then whether these three classes differ from each other.

L&S mentions that resistentia is a late Latin word for repugnantia, so those seem to be synonyms. Otherwise I find the entries hard to compare.

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The verb refragor has the meaning of resisting, opposing or gainsaying; refragator is an opponent; refragatio is resistance or opposition. Another likely verb is renitor, to struggle against, or resist (there is a derived noun renisus, which is post-classical).

I believe that verbs that are compounds of storesto, resisto, obsto, obsisto — and their derived nouns contain the idea of 'standing one's ground': as it seems to me, they do not quite have the sense of active resistance as conducted by the French maquis in WW2, for example.


"Repugnantia" etc. is more like fighting back, actively opposing something, or rejecting it; whereas "resistentia" is endurance, not yielding to a pressure. Oppugnantia is like rising against, or standing in the way of, something. "Repugnantia" also means intrinsic contradiction or incoherence. "Repugnatio" is rather rare and I have never seen it to mean "contradiction". The -io verbal nouns tend to have more concrete and verbal meaning, whereas the "-ntia" nouns are often more abstract and de-verbalized: cf. e.g. "provisio" vs. "providentia". So I thing "repugnatio" would tend to be used to refer to the actual occurrent acts of resistance, whereas "repugnantia" would describe the general attitude or programme as a whole.

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