I am looking at some English translations of Latin texts (direction which I think is important to highlight), and I'm not sure there is an equivalent word in Latin.

Example 1:

These organs are placed against it but under it, on the right and left sides respectively.

Haec viscera proxuma sed infra tamen posita dextra sinistraque sunt.

Example 2:

T. Otacilius and M. Valerius were ordered to cruise off the coasts of Sicily and Greece respectively with the fleets and soldiers they had previously commanded.

T. Otacilio et M. Valerio Siciliae Graeciaeque orae cum legionibus classibusque quibus praeerant decretae;

Example 3:

So we often have Leuconotus and Altanus blowing respectively to the right and left of Auster;

Itaque dextra et sinistra austrum leuconotus et altanus flare solet,

Given these examples, it seems to me that "respectively" is not needed in Latin because some obviously assumed correspondence. For example, in T. Otacilio et M. Valerio Siciliae Graeciaeque a Latin reader would unambiguously know that Siciliae refers to Otacilio. This is perhaps also the case (but less strongly) in English, where the addition of "respectively" is just to add emphasis, without being determinant in the understanding of the correspondence.

  • Another quote favoring the assumption hypothesis: ubi eum crucifixerunt et cum eo alios duos hinc et hinc, medium autem Iesum (Ioh 19,18) - one at each side
    – Rafael
    Jul 26, 2017 at 13:16
  • Seriatim ? that means 'in single file,' 'one after another.'
    – Hugh
    Jul 26, 2017 at 13:41

2 Answers 2


http://logeion.uchicago.edu/#respective gives 'respective', but with examples only from medieval times. (Similarly http://logeion.uchicago.edu/index.html#respectivus gives examples for 'respectivus' from the medieval and Renaissance periods.) It would appear, as you suggest, that classical Latin authors expressed the concept in other ways.


It is true, I think, that Latin has no simple, direct word for 'respective(ly)'. The notion can be expressed by the pronoun quisque, as in (to follow your examples and return them to Latin)):

Hae partes iuxta ac infra ordinata sunt quisque tamen dextra aut sinistra, and

T. Otacilio et M. Valerio ut praeter oras Sicilae et Graeciae quisque cum classe ac militibus prioris vagaretur mandatum est;

or by using a distributive adjective/pronoun, for example:

Itaque Leuconotus dexter ac Altanus sinister singuli cum Austero flare separatim solent.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.