Lewis & Short often use the abbreviation collat., standing for collateral according to the appendix of abbreviations. An example:

ŭtĕrus, i, m. (collat. form ŭter, Caecil. ap. Non. 188, 15; neutr. collat. form ŭtĕ-rum, i, Plaut. Aul. 4, 7, 10, acc. to Non. 229, 33; Turp. and Afran. ib.) [Sanscr. uttara, later; Gr. ὕστερος; cf. Gr. ὑστέρα, womb; Sanscr. udaram, belly; Engl. udder], the womb, matrix (syn. volva).

It is often used for the form of some word. I suspect it simply means "alternative". But the English word itself can also mean "descended from the same stock, but in a different line" in family relations. So what does it mean?


Judging by examples, it seems to indeed mean "alternative". Etymology offers a reading of "collateral" that fits the context perfectly: Combining con and latus, one can form an adjective collateralis which means essentially "side by side". Compare with the plain lateralis in L&S. If two forms of a word are used side by side, they are alternatives to each other.

  • That was also my reading. But I'm wondering whether some 'official' explanation or a source outside of L&S exists.
    – Cerberus
    Jan 6 '18 at 21:09
  • @Cerberus I would like to see something more official as well. The conclusion seems fairly evident, but a reliable description of the word or use in other dictionaries would make the case much stronger.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jan 6 '18 at 21:12

The Oxford new American dictionary defines as 'additional but subordinate; secondary: the collateral meanings of a word.'


As others have noted, “collateral” means “alternative” or “secondary”. Actually, this entry bears witness to the limitations of the venerable L/S. The references for the “collateral” uter are dubious (post-classical grammarians). Current etymological thinking is that uterus is certainly not cognate with uttara- or ὕστερος, nor with udder, though it is possibly cognate with Skt. udara-, with an inner-Latin shift of *-der- to -ter-. English udder belongs with Latin uber (IE -dh-).

  • Interesting, is the supposed Latin shift of "der" to "ter" related to some sound change like dr > tr? I think I remember seeing that mentioned somewhere as a Latin sound change (e.g. books.google.com/…) , but I didn't realize it could happen even with an intermediate vowel between the d and r.
    – Asteroides
    Jan 7 '18 at 5:54
  • @sumelic. The etymological dictionaries (Walde, de Vaan) offer different versions of the idea that the voiceless -t- in uterus developed by analogy to a (hypothetical) syncopated stem *uderV > *udrV > *utrV .
    – fdb
    Jan 7 '18 at 10:30

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