There was a question recently in chat about whether and how to pluralize nemo. Would you say sumus nemo or sumus nemines? Is nemo truly defective in the plural and thus does it only take singular forms? Or should a different plural be used, such as sumus nulli, in lieu of nemo?

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    Nemo sumus doesn't feel right to me at all. Most Classical authors avoided the oblique forms of nemo, for whatever reason, and the plural is exceptionally rare. Perhaps nulli sumus?
    – Anonym
    Commented Sep 26, 2017 at 23:16

1 Answer 1


Lewis & Short define the phrase nihil esse as 'to be nothing or nobody' (plus 'to have no power' and 'to be of no use'). And Cicero, Ad familiares 7.33.1 does provide an example of this phrased used with a plural subject:

nos enim plane, mi suavissime Volumni, aut nihil sumus aut nobis quidem ipsis displicemus gregalibus illis quibus te plaudente vigebamus amissis, ut etiam, si quando aliquid dignum nostro nomine emisimus, ingemiscamus quod haec 'pinnigero, non armigero in corpore tela exerceantur', ut ait Philoctetes apud Accium, 'abiecta gloria'.

So I'd say that the Latin for 'we are no one' is nihil sumus.

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