Latin has an obvious word for a professor: professor. But what would be good Latin translations for assistant and associate professors? I am looking for two adjectives to go with professor (or profestrix) that would give good Latin translations of "assistant professor" and "associate professor", but I'm open to solutions without adjectives too.

Any attested academic use would be great, but also suggestions are welcome. Ideally, the translations should be easily identified and distinguished, with as little room as possible for confusion with a full professor, a visiting professor, or an adjunct professor.

My best guesses are professor auxiliaris and professor associ(at)us for assistant and associate professor, respectively. Perhaps one could also use something derived from assistere, but auxiliaris sounded more idiomatic to me. The participle associatus and the adjective associus see appropriate, and should be easily interpreted correctly.

But what translations would you suggest and why? Any ideas are welcome as answers!

This question is similar in spirit to the one about distinguishing lecturers and readers, but I think different translations should be employed here.


I found an attestation of the title professor auxiliaris:

Antonius Toledo, Iuris in Universitate Professor Auxiliaris.
See page 4 (= 286) of this file.

The support for this translation is somewhat weak, but I don't see a better option.

Googling reveals several uses of professor associatus in Vicipaedia and some other sources. This is also supported by analogy to some Romance languages.

Therefore I recommend using these two translations. The analogue to the English titles is clear, and there is precedent to their use. The precedent is not particularly convincing, but this is hardly a surprise: I am under the impression that the distinction came to effect after Latin was lost as the main academic language, so there was no need to have official Latin translations of the titles. Moreover, the titles are mainly American — the roughly corresponding titles in the UK, where Latin has stronger traditions in academia, are lecturer and reader.

By analogy, the female titles are profestrix auxiliaris and profestrix associata. See this question for morphology and this question for precedent.

  • I will accept my own answer for now. If anyone has something more to offer, I'll be glad to accept a different answer. – Joonas Ilmavirta Aug 29 '17 at 17:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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